Introduction to the Atlas of Shieldbugs & allies of Kent

Kent Field Club member Jonathan Barnard is embarking on a six year project to record the Shieldbugs and thier allies in Kent with a view to producing an atlas of their distribution.

About sixty-four species of shieldbugs have been recorded in the UK and the majority of these have also been recorded in Kent. Many have been established here for a very long time, but there are also new-comers that have been recorded in the UK for the first time only within the past two or three years, due to range expansion following climate warming.

Examples of these new arrivals are Rambur's Pied Shieldbug Tritomegas sexmaculatus that was first recorded in Britain in 2011 and Mottled Shieldbug Rhaphigaster nebulosa that was first recorded in Britain in 2010 and that was recorded for the first time in Kent in 2011.

The Atlas of Shieldbugs & allies of Kent is a six-year project that will cover a group of terrestrial Heteroptera that represents a fascinating and often beautiful set of invertebrates that will be familiar to most naturalists. The species covered by the scope of this Atlas are listed here.

The aim of the Atlas is to provide a detailed picture of the distribution of shieldbugs in Kent, on a tetrad basis, using a combination of existing records together with a six-year recording plan (running until the end of 2018) during which time it is hoped that volunteer recorders will actively seek out shieldbugs or will record those they come across while doing other recording work.

If you would like to get involved in the Atlas project, even if on an irregular basis, I shall be very pleased to hear from you as all records, even of common species are important in building up a picture of Kent's shieldbugs. If you would like to make a bigger commitment to the Atlas, for example by taking on the thorough coverage of previously un-covered tetrads, that would be of enormous value, especially as some species (the Cynidae, for example) can be somewhat unobtrusive and do require some active searching to find them.

The area covered by the Atlas will be the two Vice Counties of Kent (VC16 West Kent and VC15 East Kent) together with the current administrative area. This is the format that has been adopted in the Kent Red Data Book (Waite 2000). With the convenience of up to date computer mapping and record-keeping software it means that the records can easily be separated again, if necessary.

If you would like to be involved in this worthwhile project please contact me at and I shall be happy to send you further information, including a recording spreadsheet.

Jonathan Barnard
20 St. Stephen's Road,

Tetrads from which records have been received to end of May 2013

shielbug tets

Please note; these are tetrads from which records have been received, but it does not necessarily mean that each tetrad has been fully searched, so further records from these tetrads are still welcome.

Identification Guides

Fortunately the sixty or so species of shieldbug found in the British Isles can be identified with the naked eye or with the use of a hand-lens. Having said that, the problem is finding a good identification guide to all the UK species as most available field guides only illustrate some of the species.

Below are listed some of the more useful guides.

This website, dedicated to UK Hemiptera, provides the best identification guide currently available for UK shieldbugs.

Click on Checklist of UK Heteroptera (Hemiptera-Heteroptera).This will take you to a species list of terrestrial Heteroptera. Clicking on a species name will take you to a superb photographic guide to that particular species.

Although this is not really a 'field' guide it is the best identification guide to shieldbugs in the UK

Alternatively, if you have photographed the species that you wish to identify but may not wish to wade through a whole lot of photographs, please feel free to send the picture to me and I shall be quite happy to have a go at indentifying it. Photographs can be emailed to me at

Shieldbugs and Squashbugs of the British Isles

WGUK - M. Evans & R. Edmondson

A field guide to the 33 shieldbugs and 10 squashbugs resident in Britain. Two pages are devoted to each species, with photographs, identification features and life histories.

Pocket Guide to the Shieldbugs & Leatherbugs of Britain and Ireland

Forficula Books - Bryan J. Pinchen

This title covers the 46 species of shieldbug and leatherbug that occur in Britain and Ireland. Concise text for each species includes details of field characters, similar species, colour variations, habitat and general distribution. Illustrations by the author.

Guide to Shieldbugs of the British Isles

Field Studies Council - Bernard Nau

This 8-page fold-out guide (one of several produced by the Field Studies Council on different groups) covers many, but not all of the shieldbugs on the UK list. Generally only the adult stages are illustrated.

A Field Guide to the Insects of Britain and Northern Europe

Collins - Michael Chinery

Illustrates some of the commoner British shieldbugs and provides a key to Heteropteran families.

Collins Complete British Insects

Collins - Michael Chinery

This photographic guide to British insects illustrates just under half of the shieldbugs found in the UK, concentrating on the commoner species.