Thursday, 28 October 2010

Six-spot Burnet moth, Zygaena filipendulae

Just made a new page for the Zygaenidae. I found this six-spot one morning after a day and a night of heavy rain. It was soaked and could hardly move. I took it inside and after an hour or two it seemed to recover, so I took this photograph and let it go onto some lavender. I planted some birdsfoot trefoil (the caterpillar's foodplant) last year, so I hope to have more burnets next year, though I haven't seen any eggs or caterpillars so far.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Molanna angustata, Adult caddis fly

Just added this caddis fly to the Molannidae section of the caddis fly pages.
The weather has turned mild and the woods were full of flying insects today. Mainly flies, but a few moths. There are still hoverflies in the garden, but no bees of any kind. Queen wasps have taken to the log sheds to hibernate. I keep uncovering them as I bring in logs to burn. They just lie, uncovered on the underside of a log, looking like they are dead.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

10 spot ladybird

I found this little 10 spot crawling over one of my tomato plants on a sunny July morning, so quickly grabbed my camera and took this photograph. By tapping the leaf I managed to get it to stop moving long enough to get this shot. Then I left it to get on with things. This year I had 3 different species of ladybird in the garden, but none in any great numbers, and never nearly enough to eat my huge number of aphids. Last year there were very few ladybirds. Perhaps next year there will be more.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Bombus sylvestris, the Forest cuckoo bumblebee

Found this cuckoo bee at the side of the road that runs along the wood last month.

Bombus lucorum male

I found this male dead in the garden. Apart from the tip of one of his antennae he looked undamaged, so I have no idea how he died. Anyway the photograph show the far greater amount of yellow hairs on the males.

Female scorpion fly

I've just added this image of a female scorpion fly crawling over my hand to the Scorpion fly page. I caught her in July. I had been trying for days to get a good photograph, but couldn't. They are quite nervous insects, and as soon as they detected me would fall into the vegetation - usually a whin bush - and I could never find them. So this one I caught in my net and took home. Then I got her to walk over my hand. She seemed remarkably docile. Perhaps it was the bright light, as they are usually in shade or dappled shade. Anyway, I put her back in the afternoon and was determined to get a male to photograph his tail, but try as I might I couldn't find one. There were plenty of females, but no males, though I'd seen some the previous week. All through August I tried to get a male, but couldn't. So perhaps the males are only around for a short time in June and early July.
I'll try again next summer.
We have had our first snow today, so there will be few live insects to be photographed from now on. I'll just have to make do with by backlog of photographs and the dead ones I've been collecting to photograph during my walks with the dog. I have a little box of corpses on my desk (goodness knows what my cleaning lady thinks), many of which I need to identify. Most of them I find at the side of the road, so I assume they've been hit by a passing car. Some are not even dead, and when I get home I find they are very much alive. These I quickly photograph and let go once they can move properly. Others I find floating in puddles. I found a queen ant one morning in the dog's water bowl in the garden. I thought I could detect some movement, so I put her on a tissue and left her for a day, but she was dead.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Araniella curcubitina

I took this photograph way back in July. The spider was on bracken and was busy wrapping up a small fly when this butterfly blundered into the web. It was touch and go for a while whether the butterfly would manage to escape, but as it fluttered its wings became stuck to the web, then the spider moved in and began wrapping it up. Although the spider has a red patch just above its spinnarets it is incredibly difficult to see unless it moves. As its fat, round body suggests it is in the orb-web family of spiders.

Eristalis tenax, drone fly, rat-tailed maggot

Well, we are back from our hols in Japan. Tired and fatter. Japanese food is sooooo delicious.
Added this image of a Drone fly to the Hoverfly page. There seem to be 2 spellings for its Latin name, but I have chosen Eristalis tenax as this one seems to be the most common.