Saturday, 14 December 2013

Mottled Shieldbug

Had another house visitor flying around the room yesterday, a Mottled Shieldbug, Rhaphigaster nebulosa. (La punaise nébuleuse in French).

This little “stink bug” mainly feeds on broadleaved trees, shrubs and plants. It  also usually spends the winter outside deep in thick ivy or perhaps a fissure in a tree or wall. 

Punaise nebuleuse - Mottled sheildbug in France

As is the case with some other Shield bugs, (True bugs), they can be a bit smelly if threatened when they can release a strong-smelling secretion. Young bugs have stink glands on their back; in the case of adults, these are to be found on the underside of the thorax. Their flight is both clumsy and noisy which upsets some people that don’t realise what they are or that they are harmless - unless you count the smell. Then again if people didn’t insist on squishing them the smell could be avoided.

It’s not such a frequent winter house visitor as the usual Green Shield Bug Palomena prasinathe, (Photos below), which can often be found in large numbers in houses, especially those that are left empty over winter. You need a very well sealed building to prevent them sneaking in somewhere. 

Seasonal camouflage.
Above - Summer colours.
Below - Winter colours.