RichLove's picture

Gendarme in France

Observed: 23rd July 2009 By: RichLove
iSpot team
Gendarme 1
Gendarme 2
Description:

I saw these two at a friend's house on a recent holiday in France so I thought I would get a snap of them to add to iSpot

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Firebug (or Gendarme in France) (Pyrrhocoris apterus) interacts

Comments

the naturalist man's picture

Firebugs

I've never seen these before but beleived they were so distinctive nothing else could look like them. I was wrong, I did a quick surch through my books and discovered they are only found on the Channel Islands in the UK. A visit to the following web site showed there are 10 red and black bugs with a similar pattern.

http://www.cwgsy.net/private/gsybiorec/entomology/files/redandbl_files/r...

However, only one looked exactly like your photograph, P. apterus. It does mean there may be others in the South of France which are more similar.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411

Martin Harvey's picture

I agree

My insect knowledge is limited to the UK, and always dangerous to assume things about the much larger set of species found on the continent, but I have no reason to doubt the ID of this one. There does seem to be one other UK site, on a small rock off the shore of Torquay, where it's been known since at least 1865! See the account of this species in the NBN species dictionary (taken from the JNCC review of scarce Hemiptera):
http://nbn.nhm.ac.uk/nhm/bin/nbntaxa.dll/taxon_details?taxon_key=NBNSYS0...

(it also mentions an old and possibly erroneous Yorkshire record!)

----
Entomologist and biological recorder

the naturalist man's picture

Torquay

Intersting, I wonder if this is a relic population or an early Victorian introduction? A small island of Torquay seems a strange place to introduce such an exotic bug though. My vote would go for a relic population following an irruption at some time.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411

anonymous spotter's picture

There seemed to be quite a

There seemed to be quite a few of these wandering around in this garden.

Thanks very much for the feedback and links guys, that is interesting reading!