Friday, 3 October 2014

American invader

Moths aren't the only things to be attracted to the light of a moth trap. Caddisflies are frequent as are various beetles and bugs. Some are less welcome than others. An influx of wasps can be devastating, killing some moths and leaving  just the wings behind. Last night brought a new and at first unrecognised bug. It was a Large Shield Bug of some sort, but not one in my little book of Shieldbugs and Squashbugs of the British Isles.

Western Conifer Seed Bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis)

With some help from the facebook community of the Kent Wildlife page it was identified as a Western Conifer Seed Bug. This species was originally native to the warm-temperate western USA (California, Oregon and Nevada) but has in recent times expanded its range and become an invasive species in parts of Europe. It is in the family Coreidae which has ten native species in the UK. The long hind legs of these insects, with the slightly flared “bell-bottoms” appearance of their “ankles,” are a good field mark to look for in trying to identify these true bugs.Conifer seed bugs are not the least bit dangerous, but they are equipped with a pair of scent glands on the underside of the thorax and when threatened they emit a  pungent odour that deters all but the most determined predators. If you find one of these bugs you can report a sighting here:

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