London Natural History Society The place for wildlife in London

London Natural History Society - The place for wildlife in London

Tristan Bantock  

The spring of 2016 was rather cold with long periods of wet weather during May and June. Although this poor start to the year was somewhat offset by long periods of settled and warm weather during July and August, numbers of many common species of Hemiptera seemed lower than usual.

Those which overwinter as eggs, including most plant bugs in the family Miridae, were late to mature as adults, while for those overwintering as adults, such as the shieldbugs, the new generation of adults was completed later than usual, with nymphs still present into October.

Athough no species new to Britain were found in the London area during 2016, several records of rare or unusual taxa are worthy of mention here. The ground bug Scolopostethus pictus was found at two small inner London parks, including Postman's Park, St Pauls, where large numbers were present overwintering in leaf litter and under bark. This species is generally associated with litter piles and has historically been very uncommon in Britain with no previous London records. Quite how it has suddenly become so apparently well-established here is unclear.

Another interesting record concerns the Ornate Shieldbug Eurydema ornata, which was photographed at Denbies hillside in mid-May, just outside the LNHS recording area. This is the second Surrey record of this shieldbug and although an introduced origin cannot be discounted, it may represent a real inland range extension from the populations on the south coast of Britain.