Wednesday 22 April 2020

Babies, Babies, Green Shield Bugs

Wild Gladiolus, Gladiolus italicus

Hello all, and I hope that you all had a good Easter, however you managed to celebrate it. I thought we’d start off with a nice Easter flower, the Wild Gladiolus, Gladiolus italicus, and an explanation of the odd title for this post. While writing this, I am listening to a seventies radio station, and a track came on just now that reminded me of an incident that occurred when I was working in laboratories during that period.

It was lunchtime, I was sat in the somewhat crowded refectory, when a colleague came through carrying a tray. There appeared to be only one vacant seat, at a table of young women.

Mind if I join you?” he inquired.

We’re talking about women’s things”, came the rather sharp reply.

That’s OK”, he said, “I can do women’s talk”.

This was greeted with silence and sceptical stares.

Babies, babies, green shield stamps?”, he ventured.

He went down under a hail of cottage cheese on Ryvita, the unpalatable atop the inedible. It was not a pretty sight.

Common VetchVicia sativa
Anyhow, as this post is about the new life of Spring, and features, among its participants, Green Shield Bugs (as opposed to green shield stamps) I thought the title rather apt.

Plant babies are their seeds, often within some sort of casing, such as the seed pods of the legumes. This is the seed pod of Common Vetch, Vicia sativa, which is cultivated for animal fodder. It is edible, but there are similar looking pods whose contents are deadly, so they are best avoided.

Green Shield Bugs [3rd Instar]Nezara viridula

Now to the Green Shield Bug babies. This is they, clustered on this mallow. True bugs [HEMIPTERA] like these, undergo incomplete metamorphosis. That is, they hatch from an egg, undergo several moults, called instars, until they attain their adult form and colour. Green Shield Bugs, Nezara viridula, have different colours and patterns with each instar and this is the third instar.

Beetles [COLEOPTERA], on the other hand, undergo complete metamorphosis. They go from egg to larva, (which looks nothing like the adult), then to pupa, where they undergo a radical transformation before emerging in their adult state. This common 7-spot ladybird, Coccinella septempunctata, is a good example.


A couple of weeks ago, in The Love Life of Flowers, I mentioned that this plant, Everlasting, Helichrysum, is a favourite with florists, because the flowers and leaves, when dried, retain their shape and colour for a long time. However, I didn’t know how long, exactly. I cut and dried some, and a fortnight later, they are still on my mantelpiece and show no signs of fading.

Finally, there is only a week and a couple of days until the end of the month. A good idea to order your copy of The Quick Guide to Creepy-Crawlies for £10 before it reverts to its normal price of £14.99 on May 1st . [Also discounted in dollars, euros, and other currencies].

See sample pages of all my books and latest blog posts here:

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The Eggs of Saramova
A science fiction novella for those who don't like science fiction. A fast-paced thriller that is, literally, out of this world (and it starts right here in Crete).

A light-hearted look at life through the eyes of the fairer sex.

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