• Laboratoire des sols
  • Université de lorraine

Gendarmes (Bugs)



Classification (systematic position)
Source : INPN  


Animal Kingdom
Embranchement (Phylum) : Arthropoda
Subphylum: Pancrustacea
Class: Hexapod
Subclass: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Genre : Pyrrhocoris

size about 1cm



Morphological characteristics
Insects having a flattened body in 3 parts (head, thorax, abdomen), 3 pairs of legs, 2 pairs of atrophied wings (the gendarme is a bug unable to move in the air), 2 long antennae, presence of a biting-sucking rostrum.


Life cycle
Gendarmes ( Pyrrhocoris Apterus ) living in groups, mate in early spring (abdomens stuck together) and lay their eggs (black or white) in spring in dead leaves or in a small hole in the ground. The eggs hatch in May and produce larvae which are red/orange looking like adults with less definite patterns on the back. The larvae become adults at the beginning of winter.


The gendarme is a bug that feeds mainly on seeds (with a preference for linden seeds) and dead insects, but it also likes certain insect eggs, aphids and scale insects, so it is polyphagous.


Natural predators or regulators
Gendarmes are predated by birds, spiders, wasps or hornets.


The gendarmes live at the foot of trees (lime trees, chestnut trees, locust trees, etc.), on stone walls and near houses.


Interests in the garden
The gendarmes play an important role in the dissemination of seeds, the decomposition of plants and even the fight against parasites.


Did you know ?
The shape of the red and black spots that earned it its name (Greek Pyrrh (o) "fiery red" and koris "bug") is influenced by temperature.
Its vernacular name (gendarme) comes from the fact that the red and black coloring of its body recalls the uniform of the military guard of Louis XVI.

Last change : 03/04/22
gendarme photo 700 520  2
Figure 1
gendarme photo 700 520
Figure 2
gendarme photo 700 520 3
Figure 3