Saturday, July 07, 2018

Nigel the leafhopper...

I have blogged about the Red-legged Shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes) before, or the Forest Bug, as it was always called until a fairly recent name change. They belong to the Pentatomidae family and are a fairly common species across the UK in wooded areas. The insects look like this...


Top left is an early instar, top right a final instar and below is an adult bug. For anybody who doesn't already know by the way, an instar is just a developmental stage of an insect between each moult. The number of instars an insect undergoes depends on the species.

Bugs need to moult to be able to grow. They have a sort of external skeleton. Called strangely enough, an exoskeleton, which they shed in a process called ecdysis. Once shed, a new, larger covering is formed. The remnants of the old, empty exoskeleton are called exuvia.

Way back in 2010 when you and I were a lot younger than we are now, I found one mid-moult...


Well a few days ago I came across another of these adult bugs that had just moulted and the adult still had its teneral colours. For anybody that doesn't already know by the way ☺️ 'teneral' is, and here's the dictionary definitionof, relating to, or constituting a state of the imago of an insect immediately after molting during which it is soft and immature in colouring. 

                                                 

I know! For anybody that doesn't already know by the way ☺️ 'imago' is the final and fully developed adult stage of an insect, typically winged. So what you're saying then JJ is that it is basically an adult? Yeah, I suppose I am. So why do you feel the need to go over-complicating things? Sorry, some folk like to know the entomological terminactitude. Did you just invent that word? May have done 😬 Can we just get back to the plot please? Okay...here's what I found...




You should be able to click on these images for a larger view, but I don't know how much more detail there will be, because I stopped using high-res images on my blog when I found people were stealing them. 

As you can see the exuvia (you know what that is don't you) is still just behind the bug. Here's a photo of that...


And a close up of the adult shieldbug...


I have other photos, I could have gone on photographing it for ages, in fact I did! But there is such a thing as overkill, I will just add one more here that I took a while later when it had just begun to acquire some colour...


Very subtle isn't it, but it has started the process which will result in the brown colouration of a fully hardened shell that will allow the bug to fly and start feeding again.


Meanwhile, back in the garden, the buddleia has become home to an increasing amount of little creatures. I am always, well not always, I sometimes, complain about name changes of insects; well in this instance I can see that the new moniker of 'Hairy Shieldbug' is much more apt that its predecessor of 'Sloe Bug'. Take a look at this nymph I spotted on the buddleia, for anyone that doesn't already know by the way ☺️ a 'nymph' is an immature form of an invertebrate before it reaches maturity. I think the difference between a nymph and an instar, is that an instar relates to the different stages of a nymph, first, second, third instar etc. Still awake? Okay, the photo...

A Hairy Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum)

It is hirsute  eh. And, in all the years of observing bugs, I have yet to find a single one of these on blackthorn. For anyone who doesn't already know by the way ☺️ blackthorn and sloe are the same plant. Apparently, a survey of 55 different plant species was carried out in Surrey and not one of these shieldbugs was found on sloe. 

Here is a really early instar which is also quite hairy even at this stage...


I have read that even the eggs are supposed to be hairy! I don't know about that, I only found my first ever batch of eggs this year and as far as I could tell, there were no obvious hairs.

I haven't seen too many dragonflies this year yet. But I did see this fresh one drying its wings before its maiden flight. I think this is probably a male.

A Common Darter Dragonfly (Sympetrum striolatum)


On the other hand, there have been plenty of these 'bonking beetles' as always at this time of year...



There are also quite good numbers of skipper butterflies floating around in the long grass now...

A Small Skipper Butterfly (Thymelicus sylvestris)

Whilst I was down on bended knee, having a little genuflect, I also spotted this intriguing hopper...


I haven't been able to put a name to it yet, so let's just call it Nigel for now shall we.

Then finally, there was this 'nest' that I suspect is the work of a spider...


It might not be though; that's the thing about nature, it is always throwing up things that you haven't seen before and then it is down to research. My research on this one has only thus far turned up a similar looking construction made by an  Araniella species of spider.


Okay then...
Pack away your books and leave in an orderly fashion please. I will see you all back here soon for more of the same.


2 comments:

  1. Exquisite shots of the moulting and teneral Forest bug! The detail you capture is fantastic!!
    Absolutely love those hairies too! Adorable things and stunning detail as ever!
    Of course, all your other images are superb too! (but I don't need to tell you why certain ones jump out at me! ;-))

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    Replies
    1. Well, I did kinda think you may enjoy this update 😁I know you found your own teneral bug a few days before and so of course I was thinking of that when I spotted mine.

      Thanks so very much for ALL of your visits and for spending time commenting x

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