Wandering my garden on Sunday afternoon, I spied a striking red and black bug on one of the plants. It wasn’t something I recognised, so I grabbed a photo to try identify it. From there, it got exciting…After consulting books and the internet, I was pretty sure it was Corizus hyoscyami, a type of scentless plant bug (the Rhopalidae), sometimes called the Cinnamon Bug.
What was very interesting, and exciting, about this was the species was mainly known from the South coast. So was it really sitting in my garden?
I was pretty sure I was right, but sent the photo to an entomologist (a person who studies insects) that I know called Richard Jones. Richard happily confirmed the ID, and put me in touch with the recorder for this group, Tristan Bancock.
Incidentally, as social media gets a lot of negative press, this is definitely one of the positive sides of Twitter – you can connect with experts in the smallest things (although bugs are by no means a small group!).
The provisional atlas of this particular group of bugs (PDF available HERE) has a distribution map on p27 for the species, and does indeed highlight how unusual a record this far North it is. So I have uploaded it via iRecord to ensure it is part of the dataset.
That brings me to the primary theme of this post – the value of recording. Some things, like birds, are pretty well recorded because of schemes like the Big Garden Birdwatch. But how many people thing to check the ID and record a small bug? Yet it could well be the only reason my record stands out is that the species is being under-reported.
So, I’d just like to encourage all readers to keep an eye out, identify your unsual invertebrates, and then ideally record them. The better the dataset, the better we can work out what’s happening when these species spread.