Ischnodemus sabuleti: The European Chinchbug

Mike Averill snapped these chinchbugs on Wilden Marsh. The species is common in most of mainland Europe and absent only from the far North. It occurs also in the Western North Africa and further East through Eastern Europe to Siberia and the Caucasus. It is widely found in Germany and in places is very numerous. In the South, it is less common than in the North. In Austria, it occurs only in the East.

In the British Isles its history has been one of gradual expansion over many decades. Prior to 1893 it was known only from one site in Surrey; by 1959 it had reached Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Essex; the spread has continued since then and by 2014 it was being reported as far north as Yorkshire and west to parts of Somerset.

Ischnodemus sabuleti is often found in coastal areas on beachgrass (Ammophila), couch grass (Elymus) and other dune grasses; also in inland wetlands where swarms of thousands are often found,  particularly on sweet-grass (Glyceria), less commonly on canarygrass (Phalaris), common reed (Phragmites) or cattails (Typha). Occasionally, they are found in summer in dry locations, where they live for example in small-reed (Calamagrostis). In times of rain the nymphs and adults shelter on the underside of the leaf sheaths, from where the adults climb higher on the stalks in fine weather.

IMG_0857 European Chinchbug - Ischnodemus sabuleti 16

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