The Soot Sprite (Coptosoma scutellatum) is a very small insect in the Plataspidae family of true thermophile bugs.
The Soot Sprite has a round or trapezoidal, shiny, black body with a slightly domed shell called a carapace. Sometimes its colour has a glossy green, blue, or bronze sheen. The edge of its abdomen is yellow. It has six small legs. It has a small head with long antennae.
It grows to about 5 millimetres (less than a quarter of an inch) in length.
It is common in southern Europe, North Africa, and Asia. It is not found in the United Kingdom.
The Soot Sprite lives in dry, warm areas among dense vegetation, lawns, and in sandy soil. It is usually seen from May to September.
The adult Soot Sprite feeds on plants, particularly crops such as legumes and alfalfa.
The adult female lays eggs on the leaves on a plant. The eggs hatch into larvae. They stay in the larval stage during winter and pupate to emerge in summer and warmer weather.
Location: Paris, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM