Attractive, harmless to humans, 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.
The firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus) is 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. The species’ status on the Red List IUCN: Least Concern.
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.
During mating, which lasts from a few hours to a week, females attract males with the characteristic smell of this species. Nymph is similar to adults, only it has no wings; a new generation is fully mature by August.
Firebugs feed on fallen plant seeds (prefer mallards), plant juices, insect eggs, sometimes taste small dead invertebrates, there are cases of cannibalism. They 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.
I am a curious person and since my childhood, I like insects, although I know that for some they only cause fear or disgust.
Firebugs are the first spring insects that I see in nature in Lithuania, this is already at the beginning of March. They are like preachers of spring after the freezing of winter. These attractive insects are very agile, vibrant, and live in large colonies. Since firebugs do not bite a person, you can safely observe their life up close.
I hope you enjoyed my Wildlife: Firebugs in Lithuania post. If you like nature, here are a few more posts that I recommend you read next:
- Wildlife: Cautious feral cats in Spain
- Wildlife: Red admiral in Lithuania
- Wildlife: Common water frogs in Lithuania
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase or sign up for a program, I get a small commission at no additional cost to you.