Appendix bugs and planthoppers
Cicadetta montana (Scopoli) (Cicadidae) New Forest Cicada. National status: Red Data Book category 1 (Endangered) (proposed) Essex status: No recent records. National trend: Decline. Morley ( 1941 ), gives, and dismisses, a record of the cicada from Epping Forest in the early nineteenth century. There is actually no very obvious reason why the record should not be true, but in the absence of any other evidence it must admittedly be considered doubtful. For current purposes, Morley’s view is followed.
Dicranocephalus agilis (Scopoli) (Stenocephalidae) A spurge bug
National status: Nationally scarce (category B) This species is listed for Essex by Harwood (1903) and in Massee's (1955) county distribution table: its foodplants, sea spurge, Euphorhia paralias, and Portland spurge, Euphorbia portlandica, make the record, though not impossible, at least questionable. It may refer to the closely similar D. medius, which feeds on wood spurge, Euphorbia amygdaloides, and is a more likely inhabitant of the county; there has been considerable confusion between these two species in the past. However, D. medius appears not to have been recorded from the county, leading to the undesirable situation that though one or other species of Dicranocephalus has certainly occurred in Essex, neither can currently be placed on the Red Data Book list.
Eremocoris fenestratus (Herrich-Schaffer) (Lygaeidae) A groundbug National status: Red Data Book category 1 (Endangered) Listed in Massee ( 1955) as occurring in Essex. Taxonomic problems have plagued the recording of Eremocoris. Old records of E. fenestratus are usually wrong; it is a now extinct and always rare British species associated with juniper on the southern chalk. Old Essex records probably refer to the merely local Eremocoris podagricus, of which there are recent records from the county.
Eremocoris plebejus (Fallen) (Lygaeidae) A groundbug National status: Nationally scarce (category B) Another species recorded for Essex in Massee's ( 1955) county distribution. Taxonomic confusion is considered the likeliest explanation for this record also, since this is a characteristic species of northern pine woods. There are, however, a few confirmed but anomalous southern records of the species, and it is quite distinct in appearance from the more southern E. podagricus. A Northamptonshire record of E. plebejus, however, subsequently proved to refer to Drymus latus, so cross-generic errors are possible. The Essex record of E. plebejus is assumed, for the moment, to be wrong; even if true, the record would almost certainly refer to planted pines and may have represented only a transitory population. Its conservation interest, especially after such a long period, would be nil and the right of the species to a place in the Essex Red Data Book upen to question.
Micracanthia marginalis (Fallen) (Saldidae) A shorebug National status: Nationally scarce (category A) A shorebug found on damp bare patches on wet heathland and in fens, the only basis for its occurrence in the county is an annotation on a county distribution chart in A.M. Massee's papers at the Biological Records Centre at Monks Wood. It is probably erroneous. Massee also recorded the species from Kent, almost certainly in error for Saldula saltatoria var. marginella (Micracanthia and Saldula were at one time both placed in the single genus Salda, allowing much scope for confusion). The same confusion is likely in this case. It is possible that what was really meant was Saldula opacula, a species of similar appearance to S. saltatoria var. marginella, and seemingly of more frequent occurrence in the county.
Stictopleurus abutilon (Rossi) and S. punctatonervosus (Goeze) (Rhopalidae) Rhopalid bugs
National status: Red Data Book category Extinct
Both these species have the proposed Red Data Book status of Extinct. Both almost certainly were. Both have re-established themselves in southern England, including Essex, in recent years. In retrospect, it may be that the statuses applied to these species were inappropriate at the outset: it is entirely possible that both were previously present only as transitory populations during periods of relatively benign climate. Red Data Book status is certainly not appropriate for the recently established populations currently present in Essex or elsewhere in England.
Essex Red Data List