How to identify: the Green Shieldbug

Scientific name: Palomena prasina

Why are we looking for it?

The Green Shieldbug is spreading northwards in the UK, most likely as a result of climate warming. By recording where this species is found, you’ll be helping to track its spread over time. This information will build a clearer picture of how this and other species are responding to global climate change.

 

Green Shieldbug

Identification features

  • large, shield-shaped bug, 11.5-12.5mm long
  • six legs
  • bright green all over, apart from its brown wingtips

Identification tips

Could be confused with…
The non-native Southern Green Shieldbug (Nezara viridula). It also has a green body, but its wingtips are white/transparent, not brown. Originally an African species, it has been found in southern England since 2003.

Where can I find it?
Through most of England, but it is only just spreading into the far north and Scotland. They can often be seen sitting on the leaves of shrubs in sunny spots. Brambles, nettles, hazel and dock are favourites.

When can I find it?
Adults can be found throughout the year, but are harder to see in winter when they turn brown, most likely as camouflage for hibernation.

Lifestyle

Green Shieldbugs live on plants, where they eat plant sap and unripe seeds.

Mating and egg-laying take place in late spring and early summer. The young shieldbugs (nymphs) grow over the summer, becoming fully grown adults in early autumn. The adults hibernate over winter, becoming active again the next spring.

What does it do for us?

Although it feeds on plants, the Green Shieldbug causes very little damage to our gardens. It has the potential to help us better understand the effects of climate change, as many similar insects are likely to respond to climate warming in a similar way.

Interesting fact

Shieldbugs can give off a nasty smell to deter predators, which is why they are sometimes called stinkbugs.

 

Think you've seen one?

Green ShieldbugTake a photo and complete our simple online form to help us learn more about their distribution.

Submit a sighting

Where have they been seen?

UK mapExplore our interactive map and see where the Green Shieldbug has been recorded so far.

Species Quest results map

 

Need help with identification?

Simply upload a picture of your find to iSpot or the Natural History Museum's Bug forum and an online community of experts and enthusiasts will do their best to identify it.

Visit the iSpot website

Visit the Bug forum on the Natural History Museum's website

 

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