Atlas of Sussex Shieldbugs

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 24 June 2018 07:26

A year or two ago I mentioned to the SxBRC & Adastra that I'd like to do a shieldbug atlas for Sussex. Something like what Shropshire has produced. Having no time or coding abilities, that's as far as I got. Before I knew it, volunteer Mark Robey had created (with Bob's help at the SxBRC) an online atlas. So with a few photos from myself and Derek Binns, a few lines of text from me and some minor tweaking of the look of the thing, SxBRC have launched the online atlas. (I know it was MUCH more work than that but I was impressed at how quickly the test version appeared). The site can be found here

So many thanks to all of you have been submitting records via iRecord, they're all in there already so you can look around the map and find your records. As well as gaps in recording effort. It includes all the shield bugs, squash bugs, rhopalid bugs and the other usual suspects (such as Fire Bug).

You can start off by displaying all records across all of Sussex and see where the hot spots are and where the gaps are.

Here for example is the 1 km square I live in with eight records of six species.

And if you click on that square the species list for the square pops up.

I was looking around for the most well recorded square. It looks like this one has 145 records of 21 species!

Here they are. Including the incredible Scarlet Shieldbug Eurydema dominulus. I would love to see that. I think this square must have something to do with Patrick Roper.

Now if you click on the species list from the drop down menu at the top left, you can focus in on individual species. Such as the Green Shieldbug here, perhaps the commonest species. Frustratingly I have just noticed that these images have squashed up a bit (that's why they're called squash bugs ha ha) but I haven't got time to change that right now. It gives you an idea anyway.

You can change the scale.

And if you click on the 'i' button some more text about the species, where you can find it in Sussex (or where it's likely to turn up if it's not yet in Sussex) and how you might find it.

Here is a scarcer species. I put this in as there is already a new dot on the map but it was great to be able to instantly know it was the third county record and the most easterly one too, a great benefit of having an atlas. An attendee on a heathland invertebrate training I ran at the RSPB found Dalmann's Leatherbug Spathocera dalmani at it's most easterly site in Sussex at Wiggonholt Common. SxBRC will update the records at regular intervals so the records are as up to date is practical. Given that I haven't even entered this record into my copy of Recorder 6 yet, it's not going to be for a while!

And here is the individual. Only seen this three times now. Once in Hampshire and once in Dorset so this was the first Sussex one for me and only the third Sussex record. Is it slowly spreading east?

And I leave you with the map of a species I am yet to see, the Vernal Shieldbug. Tantalising stuff!
A massive thank you to Mark Robey, Bob Foreman, Clare Blencowe and Derek Binns as well as Pete Boardman from Shropshire and Tristan Bantock for being inspirations.

Now Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.B.U.G.S., get out there and fill those gaps in!!!

2 Response to "Atlas of Sussex Shieldbugs"

Gibster Says:

Assuredly you've seen Shieldbugs of Surrey? This kind of mapping technology would have been invaluable back then.

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