So where's the Bastard-toadflax?!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday 14 April 2013 19:28

I went a quick walk up Southerham this afternoon and spotted this little shieldbug. I first thought it was going to be the Blue Shieldbug Zicrona caerulea but I thought the white border meant  it was a different species. A quick check of the Internet and I was pretty convinced I had the Down Shieldbug Canthophorus impressus. Now this is interesting for two reasons. One, the bug's only food plant is Bastard-toadflax, a scarce plant I have never found at Southerham and have only ever seen at Frog Firle in Sussex. Two, I currently can't find any records for it in Sussex! Fingers crossed this is a county first. It's surprising this thing is only Nb considering it has such specific requirements. I lost the specimen after taking two photographs, only to find it 30 minutes later followed by another one within centimetres of the first. This is my 4211th UK species.

Walking back to the car I had a Yellow Wagtail flying overhead. I cannot remember a time when my second summer migrant of the year was a Yellow Wag! I am yet to see a hirundine, a Wheatear or a Blackcap!

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