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Common green shieldbug (Palomena prasina)

Common green shieldbug (Palomena prasina)

The common green shieldbug (Palomena prasina), also known as the green shield bug or the green stink bug, is a type of shield bug belonging to the family Pentatomidae. Common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland in numerous habitats, as far north as southern Scotland. Here are some key features and information about this insect:

  1. Appearance:
    • The adult common green shieldbug is typically bright green, although the shade of green can vary.
    • It has a shield-shaped body, which is characteristic of shield bugs.
    • The body is usually around 1 centimeter in length.
  2. Life Cycle:
    • There is one generation per year; the nymphs feed on many deciduous trees and shrubs and can be found from June to October. Later nymphs are often darker than those found earlier in the season. Newly-emerged adults may show a pale wing membrane, leading to possible confusion with Nezara viridula, a recent arrival in southern England.
    • The common green shieldbug undergoes incomplete metamorphosis, with three main life stages: egg, nymph, and adult.
    • The eggs are laid in clusters on the undersides of leaves.
    • Nymphs resemble smaller versions of the adults but lack fully developed wings.
  3. Habitat:
    • These shield bugs are commonly found in a variety of habitats, including gardens, meadows, woodlands, and agricultural fields.
    • They feed on a range of plants, including various fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants.
  4. Feeding Habits:
    • Common green shieldbugs are primarily herbivores, feeding on plant sap by using their piercing mouthparts to pierce plant tissues and extract fluids.
    • While they are not harmful to humans, they can sometimes be considered pests in agriculture.
  5. Defense Mechanism:
    • Like other shield bugs, the common green shieldbug has scent glands that produce a foul-smelling liquid as a defense mechanism. This liquid is released when the bug feels threatened, deterring potential predators.
  6. Distribution:
    • The common green shieldbug is widespread in Europe and parts of Asia.
    • It is commonly found in the United Kingdom and other European countries.
  7. Interaction with Humans:
    • While these insects are generally harmless to humans, they can be considered nuisances if they enter homes in search of shelter, especially during the fall as temperatures drop.

Seen on Hounslow Heath, in July 2020


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