Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Red cabbage shield bugs

As a child, I was a huge fan of wildlife documentaries , particularly ones by David Attenborough.

I was fascinated by films of exotic and more mundane creatures and I was quite envious the film crews who were able to spend time observing wonderful animal behaviour at close quarters, even while covered in leeches or stalked by lions.

Maybe I watched too many documentatires as I could easily imagine David Attenborough's distinctive voice narrating while I observed some creature native to Scotland, though rarely anything more exotic than bees, wasps or butterflies.

My passion for macro photography probably fulfills my childhood desire to be a documentary maker in a small way ; though nettle stings and thorns scratches are really the only hazards.

These mating bugs are Eurydema ornatum Punaise rouge du chou, in French or Red cabbage shield bug in English.
The first photo is like a spot the second bug competition. However I really liked how i'd manage to capture the texture on the foreground bug .

Although these bugs are very decorative, they are a pest of cultivated plants-especially those of the cabbage family.
A side view of a pair of shield bugs.
The bugs were surprisingly fast runners , even while dragging their conjoined partners around with them.

They red cabbage shield bugs resemble the Gendarme bugs, Pyrrhocoris apterus -especially if they are busy scurrying around and you don't get a good look.
However, the Gendarme bugs have a distinctive 'tribal mask' design with two 'eye' spots. Here is one I photographed previously for comparison.

There are quite a few bugs with the same general red and black colouration and its generally a sign that the bugs taste horrible. Some even release a bitter tasting liquid if handled roughly. [eg Red cabbage shield bugs, ladybirds etc]

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Maggie said...

Hey, can't believe I missed seeing these sooner! Fantastic pictures, must admit I have a fondness for shield bugs (we get them in Abersoch), though the ones we see are much less highly coloured. Well, some are bright green, but nothing beats a red insect/bug does it? ;-)

mushroom boy said...

are they pests?
I see them all the time in my garden

spidergirlie said...

Thanks for uploading these photos! I tracked down the mystery red and black beetle I found through a google search and stumbing across your blog :o)