While checking a south-facing fence at Wick’s Path, Formby Point on 4th November 2022, I spotted an insect I didn’t recognise. It was about 9 mm long, rounded and greyish, with a prominent net-like pattern of veins on its forewings. Having potted it to check its identity and take photographs, I soon discovered that it was the plant-hopper Issus coleoptratus, a member of the tiny family Issidae, with only two British species. Mine was the commoner of the two, having dark markings on the frons. This plant-hopper is unusual in being able to detoxify poisons in the sap of Ivy Hedera spp. on which it mainly feeds.
Issus coleoptratus is widespread and fairly frequent in southern England and the Welsh borders, occurring only sporadically in the Midlands and northern England. NBN Gateway shows only one record for Scotland. None seems to have been seen previously in v.c.59 (South Lancashire) or North Merseyside, though one was recorded at Cheadle, Greater Manchester, just south of the v.c.59 boundary, on 26th April 2022. The Merseyside, Lancashire and Greater Manchester Local Environmental Record Centres have no additional records of this species.
I am grateful to Ben Deed, Dave Earl, Stuart Fraser and Gary Hedges for checking the local records for Issus coleoptratus.