Nottinghamshire Shieldbugs
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Shieldbugs belong to the invertebrate order Hemiptera. They are characteristic and immediately identifiable bugs, named after their heraldic shield-like shape. Frequent in most habitat types, some species are carnivorous, but most feed on sap sucked from foliage and berries etc. Most species are not problematical to gardeners or commercial plant growers.

Like all other plant bugs, there are several stages of growth called nymphs, which are often as frequently seen as the adults and a few species are known to exhibit brood care.

Nottinghamshire species

As far as we can trace, a total of 23 species have now occurred in VC56 Nottinghamshire. But if the record of five Southern Green Shieldbug Nezara viridula (Linnaeus, 1758) from Rufford in September 2017 ever proves to be substantiated, then the county total would be approximately 24 species. Of those species definitely known to have occurred in the county, 23 of them are now illustrated here.

The Sand-runner Shieldbug (Sciocoris cursitans) remains the one species not illustrated. This species has been recorded once during an invertebrate survey of Sherwood Heath SSSI in 2006, but our own searches for it there have continually proved fruitless.

 
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Its a similar situation to that of the Juniper Shieldbug a few years ago (for many years was restricted to a just single record) but which has subsequently proved to be more widespread than was previously thought. We hope that the same state of affairs will eventually happen with Sciocoris cursitans.

From our own records accumulated over the past decade or so, the black Shieldbugs Legnotus limbosus, Sehirus luctuosus and especially Thyreocoris scarabaeoides, are probably the most difficult to find in the county. Sweeping the correct vegetation type will help and is probably the best way to find them. Nottinghamshire's larger and more common species should all present no real problem to find if looked for, as most people will probably have come across at least two species in their own gardens. Common Green Shieldbug and the Hawthorn Shieldbug, are the two species most likely to turn up in well vegetated gardens, but others such as Hairy Shieldbug and Birch Shieldbug can occasionally occur.

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A current checklist of Nottinghamshire Shieldbugs
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ACANTHOSOMATIDAE
ACANTHOSOMA Curtis, 1824
Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale (Linnaeus, 1758) Hawthorn Shieldbug
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CYPHOSTETHUS Fieber, 1860
Cyphostethus tristriatus (Fabricius, 1787) Juniper Shieldbug
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ELASMOSTETHUS Fieber, 1860
Elasmostethus interstinctus (Linnaeus, 1758) Birch Shieldbug
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ELASMUCHA Stål, 1864
Elasmucha grisea (Linnaeus, 1758) Parent Bug
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SCUTELLERIDAE
EURYGASTER Laporte, 1833
Eurygaster testudinaria (Geoffroy, 1785) Tortoise Bug
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CYDNIDAE
LEGNOTUS Schiødte, 1848
Legnotus limbosus (Geoffroy, 1785) Bordered Shieldbug
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SEHIRUS Amyot & Serville, 1843
Sehirus luctuosus (Mulsant & Rey, 1866) Forget-me-not Shieldbug
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TRITOMEGAS Amyot & Serville, 1943
Tritomegas bicolor (Linnaeus, 1758) Pied Shieldbug
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PENTATOMIDAE
AELIA Fabricius, 1803
Aelia acuminata (Linnaeus, 1758) Bishop's Mitre
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DOLYCORIS Mulsant & Rey, 1866
Dolycoris baccarum (Linnaeus, 1758) Hairy Shieldbug (formerly Sloe Bug)
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EURYDEMA Laporte, 1832
Eurydema oleracea (Linnaeus, 1758) Brassica Bug
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EYSARCORIS Hahn, 1834
Eysarcoris venustissimus (Schrank, 1776) Woundwort Shieldbug
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NEOTTIGLOSSA Kirby, 1837
Neottiglossa pusilla (Gmelin, 1790) Small Grass Shieldbug
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PALOMENA Mulsant & Rey, 1866
Palomena prasina (Linnaeus, 1761) Common Green Shieldbug (formerly Green Shieldbug)
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PENTATOMA Oliver, 1789
Pentatoma rufipes (Linnaeus, 1758) Red-legged Shieldbug (formerly Forest Bug)
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PICROMERUS Amyot & Serville, 1943
Picromerus bidens (Linnaeus, 1758) Spiked Shieldbug
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PIEZODORUS Fieber, 1860
Piezodorus lituratus (Fabricius, 1794) Gorse Shieldbug
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PODOPS Laporte, 1832
Podops inuncta (Fabricius, 1775) Turtle Shieldbug
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RHACOGNATUS Fieber, 1860
Rhacognathus punctatus (Linnaeus, 1758) Heather Bug
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SCIOCORIS Fallén, 1829
Sciocoris cursitans Fabricius, 1794 Sand-runner Shieldbug
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TROILUS Stål, 1867
Troilus luridus (Fabricius, 1775) Bronze Shieldbug
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ZICRONA Amyot & Serville, 1943
Zicrona caerulea (Linnaeus, 1758) Blue Shieldbug
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THYREOCORIDAE
THYREOCORIS Schrank, 1801
Thyreocoris scarabaeoides (Linnaeus, 1758) Scarab Shieldbug (formerly Negro Bug)
 
 
Species photographs

Included in the following species photographs is Rambur's Pied Shieldbug, which is still unknown away from the south-east of the UK, but is one of a number of species likely to expand their range further north.

 
Family : Acanthosomatidae
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Hawthorn Shieldbug Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale (Linnaeus, 1758)
Another common Shieldbug, the Hawthorn Shieldbug is a large species and regularly found in urban gardens, where they seem to prefer flowering shrubs such as Cotoneasters and ornamental Hawthorns. Over-wintering takes place under bark or in leaf litter (sometimes as a darkened adult) with the bright red and green colouration typical of this Shieldbug, regained in early Spring. By late Summer, the new brood of adults emerge.
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Juniper Shieldbug Cyphostethus tristriatus (Fabricius, 1787)
Based on the number of published/known records, Juniper Shieldbug represents one of the rarer Nottinghamshire species of Shieldbug. There is certainly one record from Ordsall near Retford a few years ago, and believing that this Shieldbug would be found elsewehere in the county, it still took us nearly ten years to find. The adult and nymphs illustrated here, were found on Lawson's Cypress, growing in Mansfield. We suspect that Juniper Shieldbug is actually quite common in urban areas.
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Birch Shieldbug Elasmostethus interstinctus (Linnaeus, 1758)
The Birch Shieldbug is another very common species, being found (as it's name suggests) in the vicinity of Birch trees, but we have also recorded odd specimens from town gardens where there are no Birches. The adults over-winter, after emerging from August onwards and this Shieldbug is a regular at MV light traps operated in wooded areas.
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Parent Bug Elasmucha grisea (Linnaeus, 1758)
This is one of the few Shieldbugs that show a distinct size difference between the sexes. Adults over-winter and mate in the Spring, with the male dying fairly soon after mating. The Parent Bug derives it's name from the brood care shown by the female. Once the eggs are laid, the female will stand over them until hatching and the nymphs will remain with the female as a group until large enough to fend for themselves. Like other over-wintering species, the adults become dark brown during the Winter months, regaining their colouration as it becomes warmer.
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Family : Scutelleridae ......
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Tortoise Bug Eurygaster testudinaria (Geoffroy, 1785)  
This is another species which has been expanding its northerly UK range for a number of years. It reached Leicestershire in 2016, when recorded from Ketton Quarry (Nightingale, K.) and finally reached Nottinghamshire in May 2019, when Darren Matthews found and photographed this one at Gedling CP, around a week after finding Nottinghamshire's first Brassica Bug at nearby Colwick CP. We are once again very grateful to Darren, for allowing us to use his photographs below.
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Family : Cydnidae ......
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Bordered Shieldbug Legnotus limbosus (Geoffroy, 1785)
Another small species, possibly under-recorded in Nottinghamshire, but could also be quite scarce and only found in heathland sites around the Sherwood Forest area. Our only records have both come from Sherwood Forest Country Park, the first being found at the top of a grass blade in an area of grassy heathland in May 2009 and then on the wall of one of the visitor centre buildings in June 2012. The Bordered Shieldbug is found on Bedstraws growing on dry, sandy soils. Occurs in the adult state throughout the year.
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Forget-me-not Shieldbug Sehirus luctuosus (Mulsant & Rey, 1866)
This seems to be a rare Shieldbug in Nottinghamshire and as far as we are aware, we have provided the county's only records - from Warsop Main Pit Top in 2007 and more recently from a brownfield site at Langar in 2015. As it's name suggests, it is associated with Forget-me-not and adults occur from August and over-winter.
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Pied Shieldbug Tritomegas bicolor (Linnaeus, 1758)
This is a well marked and commonly occurring Shieldbug, often found on White Dead Nettle and Black Horehound growing along woodland edges and hedgerows. The females exhibit brood care over the eggs and adults can be found in most moths of the year, as there are two overlapping broods. An unmistakeable species to identify in Nottinghamshire, but there are very similar Shieldbugs present in southern counties, which may eventually spread northwards into Nottinghamshire (see following two species)
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Rambur's Pied Shieldbug Tritomegas sexmaculatus (Rambur, 1839)
Extremely similar to Pied Shieldbug, Rambur's Pied Shieldbug first colonised the UK in 2011, when it was discovered at two sites in Kent. This shieldbug has also recently been found at two other Kent sites, at Canterbury (T. Bantock) and by ourselves at Dartford, during an invertebrate survey of a former landfill site. This is potentially another shieldbug that could reach Nottinghamshire in the coming years, as it is already believed to be widespread in Kent and is probably north of the River Thames in Essex. Rambur's Pied Shieldbug is associated with Ballota nigra (Black Horehound) so plants in south Nottinghamshire, could well be worth searching in the coming years.
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Family : Pentatomidae
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Bishop's Mitre Aelia acuminata (Linnaeus, 1758)
This characteristic Shieldbug seems to be increasing it's range in Nottinghamshire and can be expected in areas of long grass at many sites. There is one brood during the year, with adults occurring from August onwards and over-wintering till mating during Spring and early Summer. The nymphs feed on the seeds of a range of grasses.
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Hairy Shieldbug Dolycoris baccarum (Linnaeus, 1758)
The Hairy Shieldbug (formerly Sloe Bug) is another very common species and found on a range of low-growing plants, but particularly White Dead Nettle and Verbascum. The adults over-winter in leaf-litter, or tucked into dead leaves remaining on the plant during the Winter, with groups of 7-spot Ladybirds. Huge numbers of Hairy Shieldbugs occurred at many sites during the Summer of 2006.
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Brassica Shieldbug Eurydema oleracea (Linnaeus, 1758)
This attractive Shieldbug had been spreading steadily north from southern counties of the UK and eventually reached Nottinghamshire in May 2019, when three adults found at Colwick (Matthews, D.). The northerly range expansion seems to have increased over the past year, as there were further records from Kirkby Moor in Lincolnshire (Gray, M.) and one from just over the Nottinghamshire border in South Yorkshire (Batty, S.) at the same time as the Colwick record. Adults come in several colour forms, where the white markings can be either red or yellow. Found on Brassicas such as Garlic Mustard and Horse Radish.
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Woundwort Shieldbug Eysarcoris venustissimus (Schrank, 1776)
A small and discreet Shieldbug, but generally common around patches of Hedge Woundwort and sometimes White Dead Nettle growing along woodland rides and hedgerows. A new generation of adults occur from August onwards and over-wintering probably takes place within leaf-litter. Like many other Shieldbugs, the adults occasionally wander and turn up in unusual locations, including one that once landed on an upstairs window of our house in Market Warsop.
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Small Grass Shieldbug Neottiglossa pusilla (Gmelin, 1790)
A small and inconspicuous Shieldbug of dry, grassy areas and heathland, but a species which is becoming more regularly encountered on some former pit tops. The Small Grass Shieldbug is probably not at all common across Nottinghamshire as a whole and we only have a few known sites from the sandy soils around Mansfield and Sherwood Forest areas.`Both adults and nymphs feed on the seeds of low growing grasses, such as Annual Meadow Grass. Over-winters as an adult, possibly within grass tussocks.
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Common Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina (Linnaeus, 1761)
Probably our most regularly occurring Shieldbug, the Common Green Shieldbug occurs in most habitat types and will be the species that is most often found in urban gardens. Adults usually over-winter in dense foliage and become dark brown until becoming active again and mating in Spring. Both adults and nymphs can be found on a range of trees and shrubs.
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Red-legged Shieldbug Pentatoma rufipes (Linnaeus, 1758)
A large, common Shieldbug of wooded areas where the adults and nymphs are found on foliage. Formerly known as the Forest Bug, the Red-legged Shieldbug is widespread in Nottinghamshire and another species that can turn up in well planted, suburban gardens. The adults are partly predatory Shieldbugs, but will eat fruits and can be found until late in the year and very occasionally early Spring.
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Spiked Shieldbug Picromerus bidens (Linnaeus, 1758)
Another large Shieldbug and very similar to the previous species, for which it can easily be mistaken. The Spiked Shieldbug however, is more usually found on low vegetation rather than trees and it is rarely common, despite occurring with in a range of well vegetated habitats. This is a predatory Shieldbug, taking the caterpillars of various moths, but it will also attack other insects. Over-winters in the egg stage, these often located underneath loose bark on fallen branches.
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Gorse Shieldbug Piezodorus lituratus (Fabricius, 1794)
The Gorse Shieldbug occurs relatively commonly around large stands of Gorse, but can occasionally be found on Broom. There are two colour forms of the adult, both of which are illustrated. Young adults occur from August onwards and have red/purple markings, but their colouration gradually darkens prior to over-wintering. Adults can sometimes be found sunning temselves on clusters of dead Gorse flowers during the first warm days of early Spring and soon become largely green as they mature sexually.
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Turtle Shieldbug Podops inuncta (Fabricius, 1775)
There are presently just three Nottinghamshire of this small, brown and inconspicuous Shieldbug. It was first recorded at the NWT's Bentinck Banks reserve in 2007 (Kirby, P.), then turned up on the former Gedling Colliery in 2013 (Flanagan, J.) and most recently on a brownfield site in the very middle of Nottingham in 2016 (Skinner, M.). The Turtle Shieldbug is a ground dwelling species and not often found unless specifically looked for. There are several very similar species, but identification is made easier by the two projections on the pronotum, either side of the head.
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Heather Bug Rhacognathus punctatus (Linnaeus, 1758)
The Heather Bug is totally restricted to a few heathland sites in Nottinghamshire, where it is a very difficult find. We have found adults on both Heather and often on the lower branches of mature Pines, but they also have a fondness for sitting on items such as discarded beer cans or plastic. The only real confusion species would be with Bronze Shieldbug, but the Heather Bug is smaller and lacks the partially yellow/orange antennal segment. The adults are predatory, feeding on the larvae of the Heather Beetle and can be found from August onwards, then again in Spring.
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Bronze Shieldbug Troilus luridus (Fabricius, 1775)
Although seemingly a widespread species in Nottinghamshire, the Bronze Shieldbug is never found easily, or in numbers, as are many of our other species. Identified by the partially yellow/orange antennal segment, this Shieldbug can be found on the leaves of various trees and shrubs including Pines. There is one generation a year, with new adults being found from August onwards, over-wintering and then mating the following Spring. A carnivorous Shieldbug, feeding on the
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Blue Shieldbug Zicrona caerulea (Linnaeus, 1758)
A beautiful Shieldbug, this is fairly widespread in Nottinghamshire, but never encountered in any numbers. The metallic blue colouration makes the Blue Shieldbug easy to identify. It is found on low vegetation, usually along woodland rides and well vegetated habitats. This Shieldbug is predatory, feeding on a wide range of insects.
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Family : Thyreocoridae
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Scarab Shieldbug Thyreocoris scarabaeoides (Linnaeus, 1758)
Another small, black Shieldbug, known until fairly recently as the Negro Bug. Despite it's small size, this is a distinctive species, with the over-sized pronutum being the main identification feature. The Scarab Shieldbug is associated with Violets growing on dry, sandy soils, but this one was actually found in grassy heathland at the Sherwood Forest Country Park in May 2010, well away from any Violets. The adults can be found all year.
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