On the afternoon of 12th September 2019 I was delivering print jobs to customers in the Northern Quarter of Manchester city centre and, having recently joined the Hoverfly Recording Scheme, thought I would take a look at the raised flower beds outside the entrance to Manchester Craft Centre on Oak Street (OS grid ref. SJ844986). There were no hoverflies to be found but my eye was caught by several (at least five) shieldbug nymphs on the seed heads of a plant (which I was unable to identify). They were not of a form that I had seen before, so I took a photograph and returned to work.
I showed the photo to my work colleague, Colin Rowan (whose knowledge of invertebrates far exceeds mine). Colin didn’t recognise the species, so we looked at ID charts and photos on the britishbugs website and concurred that Nezara viridula (Southern Green Shieldbug) was the only match and they seemed to be final instar nymphs.
At home that evening I had another look at the British Bugs site and used the link to submit my record (with photograph) to the Terrestrial Heteroptera Recording Scheme (Recording Invasive Species Counts). I also posted my photograph on my Facebook page and asked my friend, and fellow member of Saddleworth Naturalists, Ken Gartside if he could confirm the ID. Ken’s response was “Spot on Steve, wow, that’s a great find!”
According to the British Bugs website Nezara viridula is “native to Africa, but frequently imported to the UK in food produce, it is widespread in southern Europe and has been recorded annually from sites in southern England since 2003”.
I have also looked up Nezara viridula on the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas pages and the two nearest records seem to be:
27/09/2014: Harwood, Blackburn (Lucy Bulcock)
18/09/2016: Port Sunlight, Wirral (Liz Dobbins)