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Firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus)


Photo of Firebug Photo of Firebug Photo of Firebug from the side Photo of a group of Firebugs

If you spot one Firebug then there are usually hundreds more of them close by.

The Firebug (or 'Fire Bug' but NOT Firefly) belongs to the family Pyrrhocoridae (order Hemiptera, suborder Heteroptera). This is a red and black colored beautiful insect that lives in groups.The bright red color warns birds not to eat the Fire bug as its gland that produces a nasty smelling substance. Contrary to its latin name, Pyrrhocoris apterus, that suggests that Firebug is a "wingless fire bug", the species does have wings although it is unable to fly. (In the South of Europe live relatives of the fire bugs that do fly.)

It is a common bug that can be found all over Europe and in Nothern parts of Asia and has been reported to increasingly invade the British Isles. The Fire Bug can usually be seen on Lime trees and on Mallows feeding on their seeds. The bug can be found throughout the year in clusters under these plants or walking over the ground.

The Fire Bug (Pyrrhocoris apterus) and Corizus hyoscyami look very similar so people often confuse these two species.

Photo of Firebugs in copulation Photo of Firebug attached in copulation Photo of Firebug attached in copulation

The mating period lasts from 12 hours up to 7 days so it is very easy to witness the copulation.

Picture of young Firebug Picture of young Firebug Picture of a group of young Firebug

The young Firebugs do not resemble much the adults.The 'babies' (first 2 photos on the left) actually look like totally different species.


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