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Himacerus mirmicoides Ant Damsel Bug
Family: Nabidae

This genus has a black connexivum with orange-red spots, and rather reddiish wings. H.mirmicoides is partly-winged, and may be separated from the larger H. apterus by the shorter antennae (< length of thorax + abdomen), longer wings and shorter hairs on the hind tibiae.

Early instar larvae are strikingly ant-like, due to the spiny posterior angles of the 2nd & 3rd thoracic segments. There is also a short spine on the 2nd abdominal segment, and the margins of the 2nd & 3rd are white, giving the illusion of a narrow waist. The thoracic projections are lost in later instars.

Usually found on the ground or amongst low herbage, this bug is common in southern Britain in a variety of dry open habitats. Adults overwinter; mating and egg-laying takes place in the spring. The new generation is complete by August.

Adult: All year
Length 7-8 mm

Himacerus mirmicoides
Adult: Norfolk (May 2008) ©Tristan Bantock

Himacerus mirmicoides Himacerus mirmicoides
Adult: Herts (May 2008) ©Tristan Bantock
Adult: Sussex (April 2007) ©Noel Cornwall

Himacerus mirmicoides Himacerus mirmicoides nymph
Adult: north Wales (June 2009) ©Tristan Bantock
Early instar nymph: Hants (July 2008) ©Alby Oakshott

Himacerus mirmicoides nymph Himacerus mirmicoides nymph
Early instar nymph: (July 2007) ©Brian Valentine

Late instar nymph: Surrey (July 2007) ©Ashley Wood

Himacerus mirmicoides nymph Himacerus mirmicoides nymph
Late instar nymph: Leics (September 2008) ©David Gould Late instar nymph: Berks (July 2009) ©Jonathan Michaelson