Friday, 4 July 2014

Lygus pratensis - Tarnished Plant Bug

Apparently this genus is one of the most problematic mirid groups to identify. The five UK species can overlap considerably in colour, markings and size; some specimens cannot be determined. The most reliable identification features concern the fine detail of the corium, and are visible only at high resolution.
L. pratensis is extremely similar to L. wagneri, although on average it is slightly larger, with a longer membrane.

Previously scarce and confined to southern heaths, this bug has recently undergone a dramatic range expansion. It is now widespread throughout much of southern Britain and is much commoner than its RDB3 status suggests. L. wagneri is primarily a western and upland species, but also seems to be extending its range eastwards. Separation of these two species now requires even more caution in the light of potential range overlap.

So, I am not 100% certain that this one is Lygus pratensis, but it is a high possibility. It is only small less than 10mm but has a big heart!