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.