Speaking of Sloes

Well I am a bugger and this is a bug. Dolycoris baccarum. I know that it’s Latin but just run that name over your tongue, “Dolly Chorus” it’s lovely.

Sloe BugIt’s a Sloe Shieldbug.

The first interesting thing to know is that reportedly this bug has never been seen feeding on Blackthorn or Sloes. (don’t ask me, I just read that)

It’s colour can vary quite a lot although all the ones that I have ever seen have looked just like this. (I probably just didn’t recognise the others) The most definitive feature is the white banded antennae, other Shieldbugs don’t have them.


Sloe Bug

Sloe ShieldbugI have spoken before about this bug’s piercing mouth part, well, I think that I was talking about squash bugs then but these have them too. They use them to pierce plants and suck out the sap and this one is feeding on the grass.

In this next picture if you look closely there is a dew drop of sap on the end of it’s mouth part. (tucked between it’s legs, under it’s body)

Sloe ShieldbugAnother name for this bug is the Hairy Shieldbug and although I have photographed it quite a few times before with lesser cameras I had never really seen just how hairy it is. It is a hairy shieldbug and given that it doesn’t like sloes, that would seem to be an appropriate name but everybody calls this one a Sloe Bug.

Sloe Shieldbug

Sloe ShieldbugI was shocked by the second of these next two pictures. I had never really understood this animals elytra (wing cases) Nice to see.

Sloe Shieldbug

Sloe ShieldbugNow I understand better. ๐Ÿ™‚

It is just a hairy little bug that I fell in love with about fifteen years ago but I didn’t have such a captury camera then.

Sloe ShieldbugOne day we will get the nymphs.

(Bugger is just another word for an entomologist, you should hear what I call mycologists)

25 thoughts on “Speaking of Sloes”

      1. I thought that was a stink bug!! Sorry, Colin, but I do not like those bugs! You can come get them anytime. Every time I get rid of one ten more come in it’s place. They belong outside, not in my house and car. Next time I see one I’m sending him and all his relatives to the UK. And yes, they are called stink bugs for a very good reason!


    1. Thanks Maureen ๐Ÿ™‚ I totally agree with you but wish that they would stop discovering new things and changing the names. I know quite a lot of species by their Latin name and when you know them that well they begin to feel like old friends, like a part of your life… and then they change the name. I also really love the common names but they are absolutely confusing and sometimes several species share the same common name, so we have to have the Latin ones. I find that I am slowly learning Latin, so many species will share a common word like arvensis (field) for instance and Latin names begin to take on meaning and tell me something about the species.


    1. Thanks Carolyn, dreadful but descriptive. This little bug is particularly fond of fruit and they do emit a foul smelling substance to protect themselves. The Sloe bug has a bad reputation for spoiling fruit. When I saw this bug or more correctly when it first saw me a jet of yellow droplets shot out of it’s backside onto the grass. I am pretty sure that was it’s defence mechanism. I did get a photo of black droplets coming out of it but I didn’t post that because I don’t think that was defence, I think that was just a private moment ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Thanks Clare ๐Ÿ™‚ I likewise do not understand the name, Just as I am writing this I thought, “maybe you should research the larval food plant.” Nope it’s Buttercups. It is fond of fruit but not Sloes. Answers on a postcard please ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Amazing photos. I love the one where you can see the droplet of sap on the end of the mouth (under its body).
    (and once again I say that’s a damn good camera you’ve got there).


    1. Wow! You race dogs? I am thinking of training Fizz to pull a sled, winter is coming ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you Ann ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t afford to be rude to the mushy people we are about to enter the season and I need all the help that I can get. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Thanks again for the wonderful shots. Q. Is the last photo of the same bug? It is just that on the flower it seems to have taken on a different shade. It is much more the colour of the flower.


    1. Hi John. Thank you for the comment ๐Ÿ™‚ The last photograph is the same species but it was taken about fifteen years ago, the first time that I saw this little bug. I think that the colour is truer in that old picture and that I may have messed up the colour balance a bit in these latest pictures but they do vary quite a bit. (it was a very bright day and I had to knock the exposure back quite a bit to get the detail, I am not very happy with the colour of my grass) ๐Ÿ™‚ The bug pictures are important to me though because through them I have increased my understanding of this little critter. Photography can be very tricky but I do love cameras.


  3. I never thought I’d enjoy reading about bugs ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve seen something similar in my garden and if I remember correctly they were an almost electric blue … or was it green?


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