Monday, 7 July 2008

Colourful Bugs

True bugs - Hemiptera - are largely overlooked, perhaps because many are small, some are dull and they change their appearance dramatically as they mutate through several nymph stages, making them far too tricky to identify. Some of them are, however, absolutely stunning.

This is a nymph stage of Cicadella viridis, one of the leaf-hoppers, about 8mm long. The stunning purple-blue colour is absolutely accurate. The adult is a wonderful powdered turquoise, and I'll show it soon.

My first reaction on seeing the following shot was 'bird-dropping, full of seeds', but it quickly resolved into a cluster of nymphs of the Forest Shieldbug - Pentatoma rufipes. These are common enough, but I hadn't seen the 'huddling' habit before.

My next thought was that they were on some common prey, such as a caterpillar, but no: as I touched the leaf they dispersed, leaving nothing behind. Lurking close-by I found a later nymph stage of the same Shieldbug:

This is Calocoris stysi, one of the Mirid bugs:


Gill said...

Splendid! What is the violet wonder on (i.e. how big is it)? Can't wait for the adult :-)

Stuart said...

I think (THINK, mind you) that it's on Lathyrus pratensis. I've gone through all the the other possibilities in my head. Size: 8mm, as stated.

Here's a pic of the adult from last year:


Mick T. said...

Great stuff, love the pic of the leaf-hopper, and love the blog, it's really a great insight into the Irish and Donegal countryside.


Aynia said...

The leafhopper is amazing. I only seem to find grey ones. I took a pic yesterday of a mirid bug but couldn't find it in my books so dropping in here was yet again both educational and inspiring.

Stuart said...

On inspection of the locality, I've now decided the leaf-hopper is on the growing tip of Cleavers (Gallium aparine). I'm much happier with that.


Gill said...

"I've now decided the leaf-hopper is on the growing tip of Cleavers (Gallium aparine). I'm much happier with that."
Me too. Thanks. [I think 'Galium' only has one L but wouldn't swear to it :-)].

I actually think the leaf hopper nymph is more attractive than the adult in your pic - nice beastie.