I headed to the garden with my SLR camera and a 90mm 1:1 macro lens to snap what insects I could find while it was sunny. In the end, I finally got around to pruning our wisteria, cutting back the grapevines and the bladder senna plants and the overhanging bramble from our rearward neighbour. I left the overgrowing ivy to bloom for the autumnal insects, including the moths, butterflies, and hornets.
Two hours later, I had no insect photos until I spotted a shieldbug on a leaf in the leaf litter. Picked up on and let him run around our old teak garden table. I’d plucked a few grapes from the vines so plonked one of those in front of him for his close-ups. Needless to say, he didn’t sit still for long and with the short depth of field you get with a macro lens like this it was hard to get a sharp shot on his eyes. Of course, you can use focus stacking to get a greater DoF, but that’s hard with a moving subject like a living insect.
I couldn’t find an exact match for this species and settled on it being a Birch Shieldbug. However, Vicky Gilson on the Bug of the Day Facebook group suggested that it was a Gorse Shieldbug (Piezodorus lituratus). She explained that it is “similar to the Birch but more robust and has a yellow edge to its connexivum. It’s in its late summer/autumn colouration, earlier in the season they are more green.”
That “piezo” prefix in its scientific binomial is intriguing…you can read more about it in my latest column in the Materials Today magazine.