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Psallus montanus
Family: Miridae

The Psallus group includes many small bugs (< 6 mm) which are often mottled red, grey or dark brown. The pronotum and forewings are covered in scale like pale hairs and the tibial spines arise from black spots.

Species identification of 
Psallus based on external features is often difficult and frequently impossible. However, the hostplant can be informative, and may narrow down the range of possibilities.

P. montanus is one of the few Psallus species which can be more easily recognised, although this only applies in the case of females, in which the large size, deep blood red colouration and habit on birches separate it from all others.

The largely black or reddish black males are externally indistinguishable from P. betuleti, with which this species was confused until very recently.

Found on birch across Britain, but not generally abundant.

Adult: May-July
Length 5.0 mm 
Psallus betuleti
Adult female: London (June 2008) ©Tristan Bantock

Psallus betuleti Psallus betuleti
Adult female: London (June 2008) ©Tristan Bantock

Adult female: Huddersfield (June 2008) ©Joe Botting