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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

21 December, 2016

Piezpdorus lituratus: the gorse shieldbug

As its common name suggests the gorse shieldbug (Piezpdorus lituratus) is, indeed, a shield-shaped bug that is associated with gorse and also broom. Those who follow my nature notes will know I caution against trusting common names but here is a case where you can! As it feeds on gorse and broom it can be found anywhere these plants grow but the most likely place to find it is on the Dorset heaths. Although quite common they get lost in the gorse and one does not see them very often. 
This is an interesting species as the adults vary in colouration throughout the year. They hibernate as adults and the first to emerge in spring can be seen in March and the early specimens are green with blue edges to the wings and they have reddish antennae. Those later in the year in September and October have a purple triangle on the wing cases and purple antennae! It seems the purple colouring wears off over winter during hibernation. The purple triangle can be a bit of a problem with identification as other species of shieldbug display similar markings.
Piezpdorus lituratus: the gorse shieldbug