Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Shield

This morning's walk had to be somewhat truncated as Malcolm had an appointment at the asthma clinic. But, on returning home, I was pottering in the garden, when a small insect caught my eye as it scrambled among the leaves of a chili pepper plant.
It turns out to be a Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina).  Shieldbugs have a rather interesting life story, starting as all insects do, as an egg and hatching into a larval form.  It is after this larval form when things get more tricky as the insect moults as it grows and passes through four nymphal stages - often referred to as instars.
This little chap appears to be in the fourth and final instar before moulting one last time into the full adult form. It is in this adult form that the creature will overwinter in a state of hibernation, emerging in Spring next year to breed and start the whole cycle off again. A charming little creature - time to return it to the chili plant.
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