Pyrrhocoris apterus (NL: Vuurwants / EN: Firebug / DE: Gemeine Feuerwanze / FR: Gendarme) is a common insect of the family Pyrrhocoridae. Easily recognizable due to its striking red and black colouration, it is distributed throughout the Palaearctic from the Atlantic coast of Europe to northwest China. It has also been reported from the USA, Central America and India. Their diet consists primarily of seeds from lime trees and mallows. They can often be found in groups near the base of lime tree trunks, on the sunny side. They can be seen in tandem formation when mating (see image !) which can take from 12 hours up to 7 days. The long period of copulating is probably used by the males as a form of ejaculate-guarding under high competition with other males.
Image: Wijnegem (B) - 14/03/2012
© Johan Dierckx
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