Fussy eaters

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 14 August 2018 22:04

Yesterday I was mapping Bastard-toadflax at Southerham. I walked up to the first plant and there was the Bastard-toadflax (or Downs if you prefer) Shieldbug Canthophorus impressus. The next plant had these three TINY little Bastard-toadflax Shieldbug nymphs on. I then didn't see another individual all day. Now this little bug eats ONLY this restricted and nationally scarce plant that only grows in chalk-grassland. At Southerham it only grows in an area a few square metres in extent and within that, the bug has only ever been found on the steeper (and presumably hotter and more sheltered) area either side of the path. I have mapped the plant and the bug over the years but that's gonna take a while to generate. In the mean time, the following came to mind, so I am just gonna leave this here...

Many moons ago all the shieldbugs and squash bugs were eating any old thing and squabbling over who ate what. The oldest and wisest of all the bugs, Doc Squash, called a meeting and all the bugs mustered around the big table in the juice bar.

"This incessant fighting over what to eat must stop!" exclaimed Doc. "I propose we divide up the plants evenly between the bugs so that everyone can have their fair share. Now, I have decided to specialise in Rrrrrrumex. A delightfully abundant plant which means my offspring will never grow hungry. I might even have the odd bit of Rrrrrrhubarb for afters. Now some of you might want to generalise or pick a habitat to focus on. Or you might wish to specialise, like me, on a particularly common family or plant. So, with all that in mind, starting with you Dom the Downs Shieldbug, what do you think is a sensible thing for you to eat? Choose wisely mind"...

But I'm afraid you'll have to wait another day for part 2! It's been years since I've picked up a pencil, really enjoyed doing that!

2 Response to "Fussy eaters"

Hilary Melton-Butcher Says:

Hi Graeme - well you're brilliant at it ... both skills and more ... art, botanist, bug collector, journal author ... loved seeing it ... oh I am jealous of thee!! Cheers Hilary

Graeme Lyons Says:

Thanks for the kind words Hillary!

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