Subject: Bug identification
Location: Northern Cyprus
April 24, 2014 11:58 pm
We are having an infestation of red bugs here in Cyprus, they range from small to about 10mm in length, any idea thank you. Des Roberts
Signature: Des

Immature Red Bug, we believe

Immature Red Bug, we believe

Hi Des,
We found a matching image on a Natural History Museum forum, but it is identified as a Seed Bug in the genus
Lygaeus, and we don’t agree with that.  We believe this is an immature Red Bug or Firebug in the family Pyrrocoridae, and this image from Cyprus on FlickR has a few nymphs that look very similar to the one in your image.  Maybe Curious Girl who is a frequent contributor to our site can provide some information.

Update:  April 29, 2014
Curious girl provided a lenghty comment that ended in the identification of
Spilostethus pandurus.  See this FlickR image of a nymph.  It is in the Seed Bug family Lygaeidae.  See image of adult here.

Location: Cyprus

3 Responses to Nymph from Cyprus: Spilostethus pandurus

  1. Curious Girl says:

    Well, lol… this is so funny for me seeing my name on several levels. For one I sent you a picture a couple weeks ago requesting help with the ID of what I thought were the newly hatched babies of this particular bug — however, now I think those were shield bug babies — but heard nothing so thought perhaps you were tired of my contributions. I guess if I am the Cypriot expert then I am not able to count on you for this one. :^)

    The second reason this is so funny is that the adult of this bug is indeed the first bug I took a picture of in Cyprus last year and the picture turned out so well I was inspired to take more and more even returning to Cyprus to take still more. And I thought they were Box Elder bugs at first, then Fire bugs, then Milkweed bugs.

    And indeed I have pictures of many stages of this species (mostly from this year). It is not a Fire bug. Those are indeed all over Cyprus too but are about half the size, maybe even smaller, than this species (in fact the adult Firebug is smaller than the instar of this stage in the picture above). Be assured there are many different kinds of true bugs here, including the look-a-like to the firebug, Rhopalidae; Corizus hyoscyami, and many of them are very interesting in their coloring and patterns. I saw several today, including of all the above. Indeed there is a version that seems to live on Oleander (Caenocoris nerii). These are all very much Mediterranean/Middle Eastern.

    It would be nice to know too which area of Cyprus the picture above is from as I am in North Cyprus myself at the moment.

    However, these bugs (including the Fire and Corizus hyoscyami) seem to be all over the island in great numbers (though it seemed as if there was even more last year). A Greek Cypriot who saw a picture of one I took much like the one above told me that in Greek they have a name opposite of “Ladybug” as in “Gentleman bug” or similar (I guess because it looks like a fancy tuxedo suit). I will have to ask again.

    Anyway, this is Spilostethus pandurus ground bug and the instars do not much look like the adults. The adults fly around from place to place looking like large red bees. I had one buzz me in the face in Karpaz near the monastery on the tip of the island. But, they are harmless and do not seem to do much damage to plants either. Unlike many of the other species mentioned above though, the adults do not seem to hang out with the younger generations.

    So that’s what I know. Thanks for inspiring me to search out and learn more.

    • bugman says:

      Wow. Thanks so much Curious Girl. We need to hunt up a few links an update the posting.

    • bugman says:

      If you are able, can you send that image of the adult since it is not represented on our site? Seems photos of nymphs are rather scarce on the internet.
      P.S. We will also check our mail for the image you indicate we overlooked.

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