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Lygus cf. pratensis
Family: Miridae
Nau, B. S. (2004) Identification of plantbugs in the genus Lygus in Britain

This genus is one of the most problematic mirid groups to identify. The five UK species can overlap considerably in colour, markings and size; some specimens cannot be determined. The most reliable identification features concern the fine detaill of the corium, and are visible only at high resolution. Characters given by Southwood & Leston (1959) are misleading; the above reference (Nau, 2004) summarises current knowledge.

L. pratensis is extremely similar to L. wagneri, although on average it is slightly larger, with a longer membrane. The corium is more densely pubescent; the lateral spacing of the hairs is less than hair length (see below), while in L. wagneri the spacing is roughly equal. 


Previously scarce and confined to southern heaths, this bug has recently undergone a dramatic range expansion. It is now widespread throughout much of southern Britain and is much commoner than its RDB3 status suggests. L. wagneri is primarily a western and upland species, but also seems to be extending its range eastwards. Separation of these two species now requires even more caution in the light of potential range overlap.

Compare L. maritimus, L. rugulipennis

Adult: All year
Length 6-7 mm
Lygus pratensis
Adult: north London (July 2007) ©Tristan Bantock

Lygus pratensis Lygus pratensis
Adult: Detail of corium ©Tristan Bantock

Adult: north London (August 2008) ©Tristan Bantock

Lygus pratensis Lygus pratensis
Adult: north London (September 2008) ©Tristan Bantock Adult: Cambs (August 2007) ©Will George

Lygus pratensis Lygus pratensis
Adult: north London (Octoberr 2008) ©Tristan Bantock

Adult: Berks (September 2008) ©Jonathan Michaelson
Lygus pratensis Lygus pratensis
Nymph: south London (September 2005) ©Toby Barton

Nymph: Berks (October 2008) ©Jonathan Michaelson