Published!

This summer, I went to Knepp Estate for an Amateur Entomologist’s Society (AES)field meeting on grasshoppers and crickets. It was really interesting, but the best part was being asked to write an article for the Bug Club magazine for junior AES members on a bug that I found! This was the first time this has happened. It was published in the October issue of the magazine, here it is:

“On August 12th this year, a few keen bug-hunters and I made the journey to Knepp Estate near Horsham, West Sussex for an AES field meeting. Knepp Estate is a wonderful place and is currently undergoing a ‘rewilding’ project, where people try to restore a site back to the days when wildlife was plentiful in the area. It consists of a number of different habitats, but mainly scrubby grassland with a few lakes and ponds scattered around.”

“The focus of this AES field meeting was on grasshoppers, crickets and related species. However, the star species was actually a hemipteroid (a ‘true’ bug): the Tortoise Bug (Eurygaster testudinaria). We came across it while we were making our way through a marshy habitat, looking for a species of cricket called the Short-winged Conehead. The first we saw of the Tortoise Bug were actually two nymphs (pre-adults), sitting cosily on top of a Marigold flower. They look like typical shieldbug nymphs, with an oval-shaped body and a dark pronotum (the section of the body directly behind the head). However, the feature that stood out about this nymph was the fact that the main colour was a light rosy pink.”

“To my surprise, an adult was found soon after. However, it’s much harder to confirm the identification of an adult. Like quite a few other invertebrate groups, you have to peer really closely at obscure parts – in this case the front of the head. The Scarce Tortoise Bug is the species we have to keep in mind, and the easiest way to separate it is to check if there is a slight depression (dent) in the front of the head. Only the Tortoise Bug has this depression at the front of the head, but it’s very hard to see. We had to look really hard through our handlenses, but in the end we reached the conclusion that the depression was evident, making it the much more frequent Tortoise Bug. If only bug identification could be simple!”

Adult

Adult

Nymph

Nymph

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