Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Art Naturel 3: Under the bed bug

The source of my AN3 close-up caused a bit of a stir when my daughter discovered it wandering across the carpet under her bed at the weekend.

It's a hawthorn shield bug which really should know better as it's meant to be hibernating it's way through winter right now. It's a beautiful insect, of that there's no doubt, and although it's common enough hearabouts I wasn't expecting to find it inside the house in the middle of winter. The neighbours are having their house extended right now so I just wonder if it has been disturbed from its slumber within their roofspace.

It's latin name, Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale, is an interesting curiosity.  I'm itching to know what the link is between this bug and haemorrhoids but can't find any information on this.  Likewise, I can't find out whether those small dark dots are of any significance. 

What most of the texts do say is that this beast gives off a bad smell when disturbed. Well this one was well and truly disturbed yet the air remained sweet.  Proof again that once you move away from the feathered or the furred, hard facts are hard to come by.

On a final note - there is a brilliant identification chart for UK shieldbugs here on the British Bugs web site showing all the various instar stages they move through on the way to adulthood - very handy for sorting out your hawthorns from your birches.


  1. What size is this bug?

    from Katie and Ben

  2. Ah..I can tell you exactly because it died soon after we found it and I still have it in a jar. It is 13mm long and 7mm wide...not quite as big as it looks in the photos!

  3. I suggest that if your neice and nephew are into looking at bugs then some recent handy guides may well inspire them further. They're done by a friend of mine, Bryan Pinchen (Forficula books)and they're a Pocket Guide series, about £8.00 each. He's done one on shield bugs ISBN 978-0-9549349-4-1. Also in the series are bumblebees, grasshoppers and ladybirds.

  4. Great. Thanks for the tip Bob. Will look them up.