New bug recorded for first time in Scotland

Tuesday 2 August 2016

A new bug has been officially recorded in Scotland for the first time after being discovered by an RSPB Scotland volunteer at the wildlife charity's Insh Marshes nature reserve in the Highlands.

Psallus montanus is a species of plantbug, the females of which are black and red in colour, while the males are a duller black and brown. Bugs are an order of insects generally characterised by having two pairs of wings and piercing mouthparts.

'Distinctive' bug

Bob Fleetwood has volunteered at Insh Marshes for four years and routinely carries out survey work on the reserve. He found the female Psallus montanus while collecting and recording beetles and bugs from a birch tree.

Bob said: "Of all the bugs I came across that day, this one looked quite distinctive. As I'm still learning, I wasn't 100% certain what it was, so I contacted the national recorder for terrestrial bugs, Jim Flanagan, who positively identified it as a female Psallus montanus.

"When I got the confirmation back that this was the first official record of this bug in Scotland, of course I was over the moon! Every day is different when you're volunteering and this just goes to show that you don't have to be an expert to play a part in an exciting discovery like this."

Other insects which are categorized as bugs include aphids, jumping plant lice, whiteflies, leafhoppers, planthoppers, flowerbugs, shieldbugs, assassin bugs and stiltbugs.

'Volunteers are vital to the work of the RSPB'

Pete Moore, Reserve Warden at Insh Marshes, said: "Volunteers are vital to the work of RSPB Scotland and we wouldn't be able to achieve the amount we do for conservation without all of their hard work. We're delighted for Bob in making this exciting discovery and it's a brilliant record to add to the growing list of species we have here at Insh Marshes too."

Psallus montanus has only been recognised as a British species fairly recently and is similar to Psallus betuleti, which also occurs on birch.

RSPB Scotland Insh Marshes is a National Nature Reserve near Kingussie in the Highlands. The site is one of the most important wetlands in Europe, home to bird species such as the curlew, snipe, whooper swan, redshank and lapwing.

Tagged with: Country: Scotland Topic: Volunteering