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If you thought your life was complicated, think again.

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Though it has just one generation each year, like many bugs Palomena prasina, the Common Green Shieldbug, has a very complex life cycle. Between egg and adult, it goes through five transitional phases (called instars) and at each stage, as it grows into adulthood, it looks a little different, its patterning and colouration varying each time it moults. As its name implies it is mostly green, though it can also have black markings and, as it approaches the time for winter hibernation, the adult shieldbug often changes to a bronze-brown colour.

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Such variation can make Palomena prasina difficult to identify and their mostly green hues also act as good camouflage on the plants and bushes they inhabit so, although these bugs are supposedly common and widespread in Britain and at 12-14mm they’re relatively large, I haven’t seen as many as I expected. These are some I did manage to detect.

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