Box Bug Gonocerus acuteangulatus in Edgbaston
On the 6th April 2011 the following email was received from Andrew Curran:
I decided to have a walk in the large wildlife garden near my home in Edgbaston, Birmingham, on a sunny morning. I came across what I thought to be my first Dock Bug of the year there. I took three pictures just in case. At home I had a look at the photographic guide (Evans & Edmondson) in the evening and suddenly realised that the bug did not seem right for Dock Bug. Then I looked at the various sites available on the internet. To my surprise theinsect looked more like Box Bug Gonocerus acuteangulatus (narrower abdomen at the rear, plain legs & antennal pattern). However, Box Bug should not be expected in the Midlands? I thought you might find my picture (taken on the 6th of April) particularly interesting and see whether the bug is actually a Box Bug or not.
Andrew’s picture was quickly emailed to several Worcestershire naturalists – the response was positive: Andrew had indeed found Box Bug!
John Meiklejohn commented: “The bug keys out clearly to Gonocerus acuteangulatus, Box Bug”.
Others remembered that Gary Farmer had mentioned Box Bug in a talk given at Worcestershire Entomology Day in 2009 as one to look out for as he had seen one in the Cotswolds and the species was known to be spreading. A picture accompanies his follow-up article in the Wyre Forest Review 2009 p56.
The British Bugs website states:
Historically the species was very rare (RBD1) and known only from Box Hill in Surrey, where it feeds on Box trees, this bug is expanding its range and now occurs widely in the south-east and beyond. It is also exploiting different foodplants, and has been found on hawthorn, buckthorn, yew and plum trees. See http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Coreidae/gonocerus_acuteangulatus.html
This is a species worth looking out for. Superficially it resembles the common Dock Bug Coreus marginatus but is narrower and has sharply pointed extremities to the pronotum rather than bluntly angled.
British Bugs website at http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/heteroptera/Coreidae/gonocerus_acuteangulatus.html or search for www.britishbugs.org.uk and then for Box Bug in space provided.
Evans, M. & Edmondson, R. 2005. A photographic guide to the shieldbugs and squashbugs of the British Isles. WGUK.
Fig. 1. Box Bug Gonocerus acuteangulatus. ©Andrew Curran
Fig. 2. For comparison a picture of Dock Bug Coreus marginatus. ©Harry Green