Keith Edkins Watch List of New and Expanding Insect Species

I originally produced the list for the Yahoo! Group british_insects. Over the years traffic on that group dwindled to nothing, so I transferred it to my own web site where it will be easier for me to update and others to find. Uncredited photos are mine from Cambridge and are licensed (including the enlargements obtained by clicking) under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike3.0 License—K.E.


Stick insects
Several species of stick insects have established breeding populations (they are all parthenogenetic) in southern England. The Phasmid Study Group list five: Phasmid Study Group

Photo of Bacillus rossius © ferran pestaña at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-2.0.


Willow Emerald Damselfly Chalcolestes viridis
Native to southern and central Europe this damselfly has become established in south-east England (from Kent to Norfolk) since about 2009. By 2015 there was evidence that it was spreading westwards. A large damselfly around 48mm long. Both sexes are metallic green and rest with the wings spread at 45° rather than the typical damsel folding along the body. Eggs are laid under the bark of willow trees over water, leaving rows of visible scars. The eggs hatch in spring and the prolarvae drop to the water below (or jump to water, if they hit land) before moulting to become normal larvae.

Mature adults of this damselfly differ from the native Emerald (Lestes spona) and Scarce Emerald (L. dryas) in having pale pterostigmata, and the male is not frosted with blue. The anal appendages differ in that the inferior (inner) prongs are much shorter than in the Lestes spp.

British Dragonfly Society
Recorded distribution (NBN gateway)


Southern Oak Bush-cricket Meconema meridionale
A short-winged flightless bush-cricket closely related to the native Oak Bush-cricket M. thalassinum. It arrived in Britain in 2001. Green with a yellow dorsal stripe from the head to the tip of abdomen and a pair of brown marks on back of the pronotum. The male has a pair of long cerci, the female a scimitar-shaped ovipositor. Nymphs are indistinguishable from M. thalassinum.

Profile at Natural History Museum

Photo © Gilles San Martin at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-2.0.

Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket Phaneroptera falcata
With a similar expansion history to the Tree cricket (below), occasional vagrant adults have been found in Britain, and an apparently established colony was found near Dungeness in 2015. The adults are green with dark speckles, and the female ovipositor is very sharply curved upwards.

Report by Grasshopper etc. recording scheme

Photo Bj.schoenmakers at Wikimedia Commons, released to the public domain..


Tree cricket Oecanthus pellucens
A mediterranean species which has been spreading into northern mainland Europe, reaching the French and Belgian coasts. The first British colony was found near Dungeness in 2015. Adults are pale straw-coloured with the wings nearly transparent. Both long- and short-winged forms are found. The song is a series of monotone bursts, each about 0.8s.

Report by Grasshopper etc. recording scheme
Sound recording from Dungeness

Photo © Wofl at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-2.5.


Euroleon nostras
The first ant-lion species to make it to Britain, forming a colony in the sands at the RSPB Minsmere reserve. Also found at Holkham NNR, Norfolk.

Profile at Suffolk Biodiversity
Profile at Buglife, July 2012

Photo © Wildfeuer at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-2.0.


Rambur's Pied Shieldbug, Tritomegas sexmaculatus
Very similar to the well-established Pied Shieldbug T. bicolor, this European native was first discovered in Kent in 2011 and is likely to spread, as it has done on the continent. It can be distinguished from T. bicolor by the more extensively white margins of the pronotum (arrowed). The wing membranes are darker and the main white markings on the elytra are L rather than C-shaped. The main foodplant is black horehound (Ballota nigra) but it may follow T. bicolor in using other labiates such as white deadnettle (Lamium album).

British Bugs
Recorded distribution (NBN gateway)

T. sexmaculatus photo © Olei at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.


Southern Green Stink Bug, Nezara viridula
A mediterranean native, often accidentally introduced in to Britain. In the past it has always died out, but in 2004 three active colonies were reported from the London area. Somewhat thinner than the native Green Shield Bug Palomena prasina, and green right to the edge of the abdomen instead of the light/dark banded connexivum. There is also an orange morph (f. aurantiaca). Late instar nymph has two prominent rows of white tubercles. Attacks a wide range of crop and ornamental plants. Known in America as the Southern green stink bug.

BBC report
Fact Sheet: Non-native species secretariat
Photos of nymphs found in Cambridge, 2007

Photo of adult by Jovo at Wikimedia Commons, released into Public Domain by the originator.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys
Native to Japan and China, it was discovered in the United States in 2001 and Europe (Switzerland) in 2008. It is higly polyphagous and a potential pest on fruit and ornamental trees. It is also a nuisance in its habit of congregating in large numbers on buildings in autumn. The insects can emit a foul and lingering smell if crushed or disturbed.
About 17 mm long, it is larger than the similarly shaped Green Shield Bug Palomena prasina and hairy Sloe Bug Dolycoris baccarum. The elytra are mottled brown ("marmorated" means "covered with marble") and the legs (especially the tibiae) and antennae have sections which are nearly white. These white markings also distinguish the nymphs, and they have spines on the pronotum. The connexivum is strongly banded black and white.

Fact sheet University of Florida, IFAS Extension (images of all stages)
Plant Pest Fact Sheet DEFRA

Photo © Yerpo at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-3.0.

Galium Shield-Bug, Dyroderes umbraculatus
Widespread in mainland Europe. First spotted in Britain in Perivale, West London, 2013. Sighted near Southampton 2015.
Reddish brown with a white tip to the scutellum and speckled grey front pieces on the pronotum.
Food plants are various bedstraw Galium spp.

Report of Perivale sighting
Southampton sighting

Photo © Hectonichus at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-3.0.


Western conifer seed bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis
An American native established in Europe, and invading Britain since 2008. Larger than other Coreidae (it's HUGE), mainly brown with white W-shaped marks on the forewings. Nymphs feed on pines; early instars have antennae longer than their body, similar to the familar Coreus marginatus.

Profile at British Bugs
Recorded distribution (NBN gateway)
Recording scheme (BRC)

Box bug, Gonocerus acuteangulatus
The Box bug appears to be so named both because it feeds on Box Trees (Buxus) and because it was historically confined to Box Hill in Surrey. Since about 2005 it has been spreading in southeast England, and has taken a wider range of food including hawthorn, buckthorn, yew and plum trees.
All stages of the bug are shaped like slimmed-down versions of C. marginatus. The nymphs are green and might at first be mistaken for the familiar Hawthorn Shieldbug.

Profile at British Bugs
Recorded distribution (NBN gateway)

Adult photo © Pjt56 at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-3.0.


Corizus hyoscyami
Up until 2005 the range of this striking bug was confined to coastal areas of Wales and south-west England. Since then it has spread widely across England (photo from Cambridge 2014).

Feeds on a variety of plants. The nymphs are brown, elliptical (roughly rugby ball proportions) and slightly hairy.

Profile at British Bugs
Recorded distribution (NBN gateway)

Stictopleurus abutilon and S. punctatonervosus
Two very similar continental bugs which have spread from original introduction in the Thames estuary area. S. abutilon (pictured) has a ridge at the front of the pronotum and complete ring marks behind this; S. punctatonervosus has no ridge and the marks are only half rings.

Both species are found in dry grassland. The nymphs are like those of Corizus hyoscyami described above, but less hairy.

S. abutilon and S. punctatonervosus at British Bugs
• Recorded distribution (NBN gateway) S. abutilon; S. punctatonervosus


Andromeda lace bug Stephanitis takeyai
Native to Japan, its sporadic appearances in Europe include a public garden in Surrey. A potential pest on Pieris japonica spp. and Rhododendron, although the damage may be only superficial. Wings laced, with black patches; globular pronotum.

Fact Sheet from University of Massachusetts Amherst

Platanus lace bug Corythucha ciliata
Of North American origin, has spread through Europe since its discovery in Italy in 1964. In 2006 it was discovered in Bedfordshire on imported London plane (Platanus x acerifolia) and oriental plane (P. orientalis) trees from France and Italy. These are believed to be its main foods plants, but other trees may also be used. Infestations may cause premature leaf drop. Known as the Sycamore lace bug in the USA, where "sycamore" designates various Platanus species, this name is inappropriate in the UK as it does not feed upon the European Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). Adults are about 3mm long. Nymphs are oval, black, and somewhat spiny. Corythucha arcuata is a similar bug feeding on oak, currently confined to southern parts of Europe.

Plant Pest Notice - Central Science Laboratory (DEFRA)
Photo © Petra Broda at at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-2.0.


Japanese Maple Leafhopper Japananus hyalinus
An Asian species introduced into the USA before 1900 and Europe around 1960, where it has been steadily expanding its range. In 2014 I took the adjoining photo in Cambridge, and (after it was kindly identified by Dr Herbert Nickel of the University of Göttingen) discovered this was the first British record received by the Auchenorrhyncha Recording Scheme.

Quite a large leaf-hopper at around 6mm long. Its natural food plants are Acer japonicum and A. palmatum: in Europe it has been found on Field Maple, Norway Maple and Sycamore. It is not thought to be a threat to the cultivation of these species (Walczak, Musik & Mokrzycka, 2012).

Pest Risk Assessment: FERA
Japananus hyalinus Homepage

Eupteryx decemnotata
A very small leaf-hopper, less than 3 mm long. First noticed in Britain in the London area 2002 and has probably spread quite widely but is very little recorded. It is extremely hard to see on its favourite sage leaves. The photo was taken in Cambridge in 2014.

The pattern is rather similar to the slightly larger, well established, and also sage-dwelling E. mellisae. It has paired spots on the apex, whereas in mellisae one of the spots is on the centre line.


Japanese Beetle Popillia japonica
An Asian species which has been introduced in North America and was found in Italy in 2014. Similar to the resident garden chafer (Phyllopertha horticola), rather more iridescent and with tufts of white setae along the sides of the abdomen and on the pygidium. Adults are highly polyphagous and gregarious, and can strip leaves of a wide variety of trees and other plants. Southern Britain is probably climatically marginal for establishment of this species. Findings should be reported, see the Factsheet.

Factsheet (DEFRA)

Photo © Bruce Marlin at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-3.0.


Bryony Ladybird Henosepilachna argus
All red (including forebody) except for twelve black elytral spots (two pairs of which may become confluent on the suture). The larvae are covered with branching spines. A vegetarian species. Found in Surrey and Middlesex since 1997, currently only on white bryony but may spread to other cucurbits. By 2014 it was sporadically sighted as far north as Leeds.

London Ladybird Survey
Recorded distribution (NBN gateway)

Photo © Floor Arts at (via Wikimedia Commons), licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-3.0.

Harmonia axyridis
(the multivariate/Asian/Halloween/Harlequin ladybeetle/bird/bug) was used in NW Europe for greenhouse control - with the assertion that it wouldn't escape! It became established in the Netherlands and Belgium, and in September 2004, it was discovered in the gardens of the White Lion pub in Sible Hedingham, Essex. Since then it has been widely sighted, mostly in southern England. The Harlequin Ladybird Survey seeks reports. By 2014 it was widespread throughout England and the Scottish lowlands with a few sightings in Northern Ireland.

There are lots of pictures on the web - it isn't called the variable ladybird for nothing. One melanic form has two red spots and might be confused for a kidney-spot but it retains white marks on the pronotum. Other forms are likely to be confused with the 10-spot.

Also introduced into the USA where large overwintering aggregations can be a considerable nuisance.

Paul Mabbott's status reports
BBC report of British discovery
BBC report of follow-up survey


Alder leaf beetle Agelastica alni
Lustrous blue leaf beetle, on Alder, Poplar, Willow and Hazel. Native to continental Europe. Since about 2007 it has become well established in Vice-Counties 58 & 59 (Cheshire & South Lancashire), from which it is slowly spreading. It has also been found in a few locations in southern England.

The beetle differs from species such as Altica lythri and Chrysolina coerulans (below) in that the abdomen broadens towards the tail. Gravid females are particularly noticable with part of the distended yellow abdomen being visible.

Information from Royal Horticultural Society
Recorded distribution (NBN gateway)

Photo © Donald Hobern at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-2.0.

Rosemary beetle Chrysolina americana
A large, domed, multicoloured metallic leaf beetle currently found in Surrey and London mostly on lavender but also on other labiates. It is likely to follow the trail of the Lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii) across the country - by 2014 it had reached York & Blackpool. Despite its scientific name it is of European origin.

Distribution Map & Survey (RHS)
Photos at The Coleopterist
Recorded distribution (NBN gateway)

Blue mint beetle Chrysolina coerulans
Another lustrous blue beetle, both adults and larvae eat mint leaves and can defoliate garden mint plants. Eurasian native, first breeding population found in Kent in 2011, also found in Cambridgeshire.

Information from Royal Horticultural Society
FERA Rapid Risk Assessment

Photo © James K. Lindsey at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.

Scarlet lily beetle Lilioceris lilii
This unmistakeable beetle has spread widely since its appearance in 1940 in Surrey, and has now (2002) been reported from Scotland for the first time. Probably still uncommon in Northern England, central Wales and the West Country. Adults and larvae are potential pests on many species of Lilium and Fritillaria. Probably Mediterranean origin.

Group beetles-britishisles message requests sighting reports.
Information from Royal Horticultural Society
Recorded distribution (NBN gateway)

Tasmanian Eucalyptus Beetle Paropsisterna selmani
Paropsisterna selmani is an orange and brown beetle shaped somewhat like a large ladybird. A native of Tasmania where it feeds on Eucalyptus spp., it was found in the Republic of Ireland on cultivated Eucalyptus. By 2015 it had been found in at least three locations in southern England. Larvae can cause serious defoliation of the host plants.

Reid & De Little (2013) A new species of Paropsisterna Motschulsky, 1860, a significant pest of plantation eucalypts in Tasmania and Ireland (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Chrysomelinae). Figures.
Plant Pest Factsheet (DEFRA), with photographs and contact details for reporting of sightings.


Thick-Legged Flower Beetle Oedemera nobilis
An iridescent green or bronze with quite long antennae. Only the males have the conspicuous swellings on the hind femora. Previously very scarce, it has expanded its range and density greatly since about 1995. By 2014 there were numerous sightings, mainly south of Nottingham.

Recorded distribution (NBN gateway)


Citrus longhorn beetle Anoplophora chinensis
A non-native, quarantine pest which is extremely damaging to a wide range of broadleaved trees and shrubs. Larvae occasionally imported in oriental maples (Acer sp.), from which they emerge leaving a characteristic exit hole typically 6-11 mm across. Many other species of tree are at risk of infestation. Adults similar in appearance to A. glabripennis. Potenially highly damaging, sightings should be reported to FERA.

Plant Pest Factsheet, 2016 (DEFRA)
Images at EPPO

Photo © Manazu-tron at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.

Asian Longhorn Beetle Anoplophora glabripennis
A far-eastern species which has become established in New York and Chicago and has frequently been detected at UK ports in imported timber. Adults are black with numerous white spots (hence the alternative name "starry-sky beetle") and white-banded long antennae. Larvae bore in many species of deciduous trees and can eventually kill them. Special checks are imposed on Chinese timber to reduce the chance of its introduction, and any discoveries should be reported to the Forestry Commission - see first reference.

Information from Forestry Commission
Information from EPPO
The Plant Health (Forestry) (Great Britain) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 1998

Photo U.S. Government, Public Domain.

Stictoleptura cordigera
A striking red long-horn with a black wine-glass shape on the elytral suture. Widely distributed in continental Europe, the first apparent colony in Britain was discovered on Hackney Marshes in 2014. Larvae feed on rotten wood of oaks and chestnut, adults are likely to be seen on umbellifer flower heads.

Sighting at Hackney, via iSpot

Photo © Jeffdelonge at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.


Eight-toothed Spruce Bark Beetle Ips typographus
Adults found in a British saw-mill in 1997, the source forest may have been British but if so has not so far been located.
Larvae make linear galleries under the bark, and introduce a fungus which kills the tree. In Europe it mainly infests Norway spruce - (Picea abies) it is not known to what extent Sitka Spruce (P. sitchensis) may be vulnerable.
Discoveries should be reported to the Forestry Commission - see first reference.

Information from Forestry Commission
Information and photos from Western Cotton Research Laboratory

Photo © Gyorgy Csoka at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-3.0.


Anthrax anthrax
A large bee-fly with wings strongly tinted with charcoal gray ("Anthrax" comes from a Greek word for charcoal). Widespread in mainland Europe but only a couple of doubtful records existed for Britain before 2016, when one was found near a bee-hotel at Ely, Cambridgeshire. A parasite of Osmia sp, they shoot eggs into the bees' nest holes.

Facebook report of Ely sighting

Photo © Wopke wijngaard at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-4.0.


Volucella inanis
An impressive hoverfly with broad yellow stripes, spreading north. I have observed it in Cambridge since 2001.

Volucella zonaria
A SERIOUSLY impressive hoverfly similar to V. inanis with first stripe brown and a brownish tinge to the wings. Following it northwards, reported from Ipswich 2002; my photo from Cambridge 2007.

Description (in German) and photos
Photos of both species by Keith Edkins
• Stuart Ball requests sightings of these two Volucella species:

V. inanis

V. zonaria

(not to scale)


Ectophasia crassipennis
A parasit(oid)ic fly with orange flanked abdomen, reported from the Channel Islands, worth watching for on the south coast.

• Information on reporting this and any other tachinids from Tachinid Recording Scheme
Other recently added Tachinids

Photo © AfroBrazilian at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.


(BF332a) Firethorn Leaf Miner Phyllonorycter leucographella
This is one of the leaf mining species and can be found most months of the year as a leaf mine. It mines Firethorn (pyracantha) bushes (often planted in formal settings such as carparks and public parks) and the mine is very easy to recognise. The adult needs a specialist to check it but the mine is very distinctive and easy to spot.

• Photo and descriptions at UKMoths - adult and Leaf mine

Photo © Gyorgy Csoka at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-3.0.

(BF366a) Horse chestnut leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella
Unknown to science before it appeared in Macedonia in 1985, this is a pest species spreading through Europe and unlike most leaf miners this one actually harms the tree as it occurs in huge numbers. This one even has its own website! First found in the UK (Wimbledon) in 2002, it spread rapidly; by 2014 as far as North Yorkshire.
Cameraria mines can be quite large, pale in colour and are found on the upper surface of the leaf only. A fungal infection of Horse Chestnut leaves (Guignardia aesculi) can look rather similar but the traces of this are always brown with a yellowish border and affect both surfaces. Sycamore and Norway Maple adjacent to heavy infestations may also be attacked.

• Martin Honey requests reports of findings:
Information and photos from DEFRA

Photo © Donald Hobern at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-2.0.


(BF998) Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana
This species is spreading rapidly through the UK after first being recorded in Cornwall in the 1930's. It is now reaching almost pest proportions in some parts of the UK and can be seen in most months of the year in southern counties, the midlands and north-west, and has been reported from Scotland and Northern Ireland.

• Photo and description at UKMoths - Male and Female

False Codling Moth Thaumatotibia leucotreta
A pest of many crops including peppers, roses and oranges. Native to sub-Saharan Africa, The larvae feed inside the fruit. Potentially a risk to UK if introduced into greenhouses, as has happened in the Netherlands. Report any findings to DEFRA, see the Pest Alert.

• Pest Alert - DEFRA

Photo © Pest and Disease Image Library via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-3.0 Australia.


(BF1355a) Musotima nitidalis
Native to Australia and New Zealand, the host plants are various types of ferns. It is believed to have reached Britian with imported tree ferns, and individuals have been taken at light traps in Hampshire and Sussex since 2009, and other scattered locations from Dorset to Essex. It is not expected to become a pest.
Wings lightish brown with white linear markings outlined in black. The wingspan is about 2.5 cms.

Rapid Assessment - DEFRA
Profile at Butterfly House (NSW, Aus.)

Photo © Donald Hobern at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-2.0.

(BF1409a) Box Tree Moth Cydalima perspectalis
Native to Asia, the first British records for adults were in 2007, of caterpillars 2011. The catepillars spin tents on Box (Buxus) bushes and can defoliate a bush within days. This serious pest was reported to be spreading outwards from the London area in 2015, the RHS (link below) ask for reports of its occurrence.

Fact Sheet - DEFRA
Profile and Request for Sightings at RHS
Apocalyptic report from the BBC

Adult photo © Didier Descouens at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.
Larva photo © böhringer friedrich, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-2.5.


(BF1403a) Dark Marbled Tabby Duponchelia fovealis
Of southern European and North African origin, sometimes imported into Britain with plant material and occasionally found outdoors. It could therefore turn up anywhere and records are scattered from the Channel Islands to the Shetlands. Can cause damage to Heuchera, Sambucus and other plants.

Report at Cornwall Moth Group

Photo © Engeser at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.


(BF1539) Continental Swallowtail Papilio machaon gorganus
Larger and paler than the established British sub-species P. m. britannicus (Seitz), with a much more diverse diet and more inclined to migrate. Previously recorded from southern counties as a visitor, in 2014 larvae were observed developing to maturity in Sussex.

BBC report

Photo (Belgium) © Eddy Van 3000 at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-2.0.


Southern small white Pieris mannii
Similar to the familiar Small White P. rapae, with larger spots on the forewing, the spots being square or crescent-shaped rather than round. The dark shading on the wingtips stretches further round the outer margin than in P. rapae. The food plant is candytuft (Iberis spp.) rather than brassica crop plants.

Since 2008 P. mannii has been expanding from its original Mediterranean range and is now widely found in France and Germany, and also the southern Netherlands.

Faune-Alsace (comparison with P. rapae)

Photo (Spain) Adrian198cm at Wikimedia Commons, released to the public domain..


(BF1567) Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus
A cosmopolitan species traditionally known in Britain only as a rare vagrant, and considered incapable of surviving our winters. Since about 2013 it has been more common in the southern counties, and is known to have bred in Kent and Wiltshire. Larvae feed on various leguminous plants, and on the European mainland it can cause considerable damage to pea crops.

UK Butterflies

Photo © Alpsdake at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.

(BF1567a) Geranium Bronze Cacyreus marshallii
Distinctive silver streak underside, brown topside with tails on hindwings. Caterpillar, on Geranium / Pelargonium, is green with a pink longitudinal stripe. A South African species now well established on mainland Europe, sporadically sighted on the south coast since 1997 but not thought to be established.
A2 quarantine pest at EPPO: sightings must be reported to DEFRA.

Information from DEFRA (archive)

Photo © Alvesgaspar at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.


(BF1595) Scarce Tortoiseshell, Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell Nymphalis xanthomelas
A resident of eastern Europe, in the summer of 2014 it spread into the Netherlands in some numbers and a few sightings were reported in Britain. Its markings are very similar to the rare migrant Large Tortoiseshell Nymphalis polychloros, but with a richer orange colour and pale legs (dark in polychloros). Sometimes listed as Aglais xanthomelas.

News thread at UK Butterflies

Photo © Alpsdake at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.

(BF1620) Marbled White Melanargia galathea
Long confined to southern England it appears to have started a rapid expansion around 2010. It is now widely reported in the Midlands and sometimes from Yorkshire.


(BF2022) Oak Processionary Thaumetopoea processionea
Noted for the caterpillars' striking habit of forming long lines or 'processions'. Breeding in west London since about 2006. The caterpillars have irritating hairs which can be blown in the wind, causing irritation to the skin, eyes and bronchial tubes.

Information from Forestry Commission, with requests for sighting reports.

Photo © Kleuske at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.


(BF2292) Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae
A variably-marked species, often greenish, and resembling a growth of the lichens on which the larvae feed. A very rare migrant before 1991 it has since become quite a common sighting in southern England.

Profile at UKMoths

Photo © Entomart at Wikimedia Commons. "The copyright holder of this file, Entomart, allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other use is permitted."

(BF2386) Mediterranean climbing cutworm Spodoptera littoralis
A Mediterranean species which may be introduced on ornamental plants. A potentially serious pest. Adults brown with cream streaks, larvae green or black up to 45mm. There are other potential Spodoptera imports. A2 quarantine pest at EPPO: sightings must be reported to DEFRA.

Fact Sheet: Non-native species secretariat

Photo © Nir Ofir at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-2.5.


Barberry sawfly Arge berberidis
A pest for which quarantine status has been abandoned by DEFRA, on the basis of its repeated findings in the UK. It has been found defoliating Berberis plants in Essex, and is reported as far north as Yorkshire. The larva is greyish white with a black head and small black dots with larger yellow blotches on its body. Literature suggests that Berberis vulgaris and B. thunbergii are susceptible as well as Mahonia.

Distribution map - Nature Spot
Photo of Larva at

Large alder sawfly Cimbex connatus
A striking sawfly, 3cm long with bold yellow stripes. The yellowish-green larvae are up to 5cm long, with a dark stripe down the back and two rows of dark spots on each flank, and feed on various Alnus species. Once thought extinct in Britain it has spread widely since its rediscovery in Wiltshire in the 1990s.

Nature Spot

Photo © Sanja565658 at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.


Asian Hornet Vespa velutina
An invasive species with several colour forms. On of these, Vespa velutina nigrithorax reached France in about 2004, and a nest was reported from Alderney in the Channel Islands in 2016. Darker that the native hornet Vespa crabro with only a subdued yellow band towards the tip of the abdomen. This hornet can be an agressive predator of honey-bees and any findings should be reported - see the alert.

Alert - Non-native species secretariat

Photo shows specimen from Gironde, France. © BlueGinkgo at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.


Bee-wolf Philanthus triangulum
Once confined to the Isle of Wight, has spread greatly in the last 25 years. The BWARS survey in 1996 found it throughout the south-east and East Anglia and there is no obvious reason why it should stop there. By 2010 it was widespread in the West Country and reached as far north as Yorkshire. Its progress may sometimes be reversed by damp summer weather.

Description (in German) and photos

Sceliphron spp.
Sceliphron is a genus of very large mud-dauber wasps with the abdomen joined to the thorax by a long thin petiole. Nest locations include railway rolling-stock and shipping containers, so they can make very large geographical leaps, and several are on expansionist trends on the continent and may appear in Britain. These include:

In 2014 an insect answering to the description of S. destillatorium was photographed in a car-park in Chepstow: image on iSpot, and in 2016 a probable S. caementarium was photographed in Liverpool.

Revision of the nominate subgenus Sceliphron Latreille (1968)

Photo shows S. spirifex. © Donkey shot at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.

Grass-Carrying Wasp Isodontia mexicana
A black wasp up to 20mm long, with dark tinged wings. As in Sceliphron there is is a noticeable petiole. Nests are made in hollowed branches or in other natural cavities, lined with grass fragments or other plant fibres, and stocked with small grasshoppers. Native to North America but well established in mainland Europe. The first British specimen was taken in Greenwich, London in 2016.

Notton (2016): Grass-carrying Wasp, Isodontia mexicana (De Saussure), genus and species new to Britain (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae)

Photo © pjt56 at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.


Bombus hypnorum
New to Britain, reported in Southampton 2002. As of 2014 it has been reported as far north as Carlisle and Newcastle. "Looks very like a dark form of Bombus pascuorum EXCEPT that it has a snow white tail."

Information from Natural History Museum

Xylocopa violacea
This magnificent carpenter bee has long been reported sporadically from various parts of the country, probably accidentally imported as larvae in wooden items. In 2006 it appeared to be breeding in Leicestershire, and subsequent similar reports have been received from elsewhere.

Xylocopa in Britain (BWARS)

Photo © Maksim at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-3.0.


Andrena vaga
A large black and grey bee, widespread in continental Europe, which has been establishing itself in Kent since about 2009. Similar to Andrena cineraria, but completely grey haired across the top of the thorax.


Photo © Tomi Salin at Wikimedia Commons. The copyright holder of this work allows anyone to use it for any purpose including unrestricted redistribution, commercial use, and modification.


Ivy Plasterer Bee Colletes hederae
Found on Ivy flowers in September. Initially reported from coastal areas of Dorset and Devon, by 2014 widespead in southern counties, occasionally northwards to Birmingham. Nesting sites typically contain a very large number of individual nest holes.

Colletes hederae mapping project

Photo © Wofl at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons cc-by-sa-2.5.


Viper's Bugloss Viper's Bugloss Mason Bee Hoplitis adunca
A relatively large member of the Megachilidae mosly visiting Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare). The first British population was discovered at the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park in 2016.

Notton, Tang & Day (2016) Viper's Bugloss Mason Bee, Hoplitis (Hoplitis) adunca, new to Britain (Images)

© Keith Edkins, last updated August 2016.