There are over 1800 species of hemiptera in Britain. About 90 of these are aquatic; another 800 or so are whiteflies, aphids and scale insects. The rest fall into four groups for which there are county recording schemes.
Shieldbugs and allies
This is a group of about 60 species most of which are fairly easy to identify. In 2014 the Field Studies Council published A Provisional Atlas of the Shieldbugs and Allies of Shropshire. This was the culmination of several years of intensive recording of these species to augment the sparse historical records.
Up to date distribution maps are now available on the Tomorrow’s Biodiversity website and can be accessed via the Visualise tab.
Pictures and descriptions of all but one of the species are available in the Heteroptera galleries on the British Bugs website. FSC have published a fold-out guide to the shieldbugs by Nau which is very useful in the field and Hawkins provides a key to shieldbugs and one for the allies.
This group includes the plant and ground bugs as wells as other smaller families including bedbugs. Many feed on plants, some are predatory and others are fungal feeders. There are over 400 species in this group; Shropshire has records for about 220 species.
Pictures and descriptions of many species are available in the Heteroptera galleries on the British Bugs website. There are recent keys available but, unfortunately, these are not in the public domain. Keys and descriptions are available in Southwood and Leston but bear in mind that this was published in the 1950s.
This group includes the planthoppers, leafhoppers, froghoppers, lacehoppers and treehoppers. All feed on the sap of vascular plants. There are just over 300 species in Britain; Shropshire has records for about 210 species.
Pictures and descriptions of many species are available in the Homoptera galleries on the British Bugs website. There are three identification guides which can all be downloaded at no cost from the Royal Entomological Society:
These are quite old and missing several recent additions. In additions some of the species names have changed, but they are useable. Up to date keys are available in Beidermann and Niedringhaus supplemented by Wilson et al.
These are very under-recorded within the country. The county is one of the better recorded areas but there are only 300 records for 32 of the 90 or so species. These are small insects that hold their wings tent-like. Many have short protuberances from their heads. Some cause gall formation from which the species can the identified.
Pictures and descriptions of many species are available on the British Bugs website. An identification guide can be downloaded at no cost from the Royal Entomological Society.
If you need help I may be able to identify the species from decent photographs, preferably from above, the side and the head. Alternatively pass the specimen to me.
- Biedermann, R. and Niedringhaus, R. 2009 The Plant- and Leafhoppers of Germany. WABV Fründ, Germany.
- Boardman, P.J. (ed.) 2014. A provisional atlas and account of the shieldbugs and allies of Shropshire. FSC Publications, Telford.
- Hawkins, R. D. 2003 Shieldbugs of Surrey. Surrey Wildlife Trust, Woking.
- Nau, B. 2004 Guide to shieldbugs of the British Isles. FSC publications, Telford.
- Southwood, T. R. E. and Leston, D. 1959 Land and Water Bugs of the British Isles. Frederick Warne and Co. Ltd. – Reprinted 2005 Pisces Conservation Ltd.,Lymington.
- Wilson, M., Stewart, A., Biedermann, R., Nickel, H. and Niedringhaus, R. 2015 The Planthoppers and Leafhoppers of Britain and Ireland; Identification keys to all the families and genera and all British and Irish species not recorded from Germany. WABV Fründ, Germany.
- © David Williams – Trioza remota; Calocoris alpestris; Drymus sylvaticus.
- © Maria Justamond – Deraeocoris ruber; Metatropis rufescens; Cicadella viridis.
- Keith Fowler – Cercopis vulnerata