Continental shieldbug Eurydema ventralis hitches a lift to the Wirral

On 28th June 2020 my wife Claire pointed out an unusual looking insect in our kitchen in Bromborough, Wirral (VC58). On inspection it was clearly a shieldbug, but not one I could recognise.

I tasked my children Leo (9) and Iris (7) with looking up the ID on the web, and they quickly found images of Ornate Shieldbug (Eurydema ornata) which appeared to match.

However further reading showed this to be a rare species, a recent colonist of the South coast of England. When I made a submission to iRecord, the determination was quickly corrected by Maria Justamond to Eurydema ventralis, a species of continental Europe which hasn’t been recorded in Britain before.

At the time of the insect’s appearance, I had taken some supermarket vegetables out of the fridge, and I was suspicious that these were the source of the unusual visitor. Maria has confirmed that this will be the case – among the veg was celery from Spain, which might be the most likely candidate for carrying this unusual and exciting adventive visitor. The Sheildbugs and Allies Recording Scheme Organiser, Tristan Bantock, is not aware of this bug previously reaching the UK, but due to the circumstance of the record, this species will not be formally added to the British list.