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Arocatus longiceps
Family: Lygaeidae

This red and black bug is distinctive, although be sure to rule out the rhopalid Corizus hyoscyami. A recent immigrant to the UK, first noted in 2007 and by the end of this year extremely abundant on plane trees in parts of London. This  species has recently expanded its range across Europe from the eastern Mediterranean.

Initially thought to be
A. roeselii, the bug was found in profusion in the grounds of the Natural History Museum, prompting widespread news coverage.

Feeds on the seeds of plane, producing several generations before overwintering communally under bark. Flies readily in warm conditions, when the orange abdomen is conspicuous.

Adult: All year
Length 6-7 mm
Arocatus longiceps
Adult: South Kensington, London (August 2008) ©Tristan Bantock

Arocatus longiceps Arocatus longiceps
Adult: South Kensington, London (August 2008) ©Tristan Bantock
Adult: north London (March 2009) ©Tristan Bantock

Arocatus longiceps Arocatus longiceps
Nymph: South Kensington, London (August 2008) ©Tristan Bantock Adult & nymphs: South Kensington, London (August 2007) ©Joe Botting