Green Planet: Attractive Firebugs in Lithuania

by Arūnas
Firebugs: Attractive and harmless insects

Firebugs (Pyrrhocoris apterus) are native to Europe, also found in Northern Africa (except the Canary Islands), and Central and South Asia. Northern Utah is the only place in the United States you can find these insects documented in Salt Lake County in 2008.

Attractive, harmless to human, red-and-black firebugs are the most common species of the family Pyrrhocoridae in Europe and the only representative species of the family living in Lithuania.

Pyrrhocoris apterus
Firebugs feed on fallen plant seeds (prefer mallards), plant juices, insect eggs, sometimes taste small dead invertebrates, there are cases of cannibalism
Firebugs: Attractive and harmful insects
Firebugs do not hide from enemies as they are inedible and therefore indicated color gamut; in case of danger, these insects defend against enemies by spreading an unpleasant odor
Pyrrhocoris apterus
The body of this insect is flat, oblong, oval, 7 to 12 mm (0.27–0.47 inch) long, black, only the back and wings with a red pattern
Pyrrhocoris apterus
For mating, which lasts from a few hours to a week, females seduce males with the characteristic smell of this species
Pyrrhocoris apterus
Nymph is similar to adults, only it has no wings; a new generation is fully mature by August
Pyrrhocoris apterus
Nymph and adult
Firebugs: Attractive and harmful insects
Three firebugs resting in the shadow

The firebug’s status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Least concern

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