by Simon Knight
I was surprised to see these two critters, given that insect life in the park has gone quiet now compared to the summer.
The first is a Birch Shield Bug (Elasmostethus interstinctus). This colourful little bug appeared on my camera bag, so I carefully ushered it onto a leaf and placed it on the ground where I could photograph it without stressing it out. It wasn’t very active, probably due to the cooler time of year, which made getting a picture of it easier without it flying away.
They are known as shield bugs due to their distinctive shape and can produce powerful defensive odours from glands in the thorax. Thankfully I didn’t annoy this one, so I didn’t have to experience the odour; which can be strong enough to cause headaches!
The second is a Harvestman (Paroligolophus agrestis). This walked out from under a leaf whilst I was photographing the Shield Bug. It was so well camouflaged on the autumn leaves, that if I hadn’t spotted the movement, I don’t think I would have ever seen it. It doesn’t have its full complement of eight legs, with one missing on its left side. This didn’t slow it down at all, as it soon scurried away after I took a couple of pictures.