Thursday, July 12, 2018

Heatwave micros and a micro macro

I normally struggle to catch micros in the garden trap. I'm not sure why but the number and variety haven't been amazing over the years.

However, this recent hot spell has brought quite a few new ones to the garden including a few lifers for me.

Anarsia innoxiella

Zeiraphera ratzeburgiana

Gypsonoma minutana

Sciotia adelphella
Gypsonoma dealbana

and not a micro but just as small, a Kent Black Arches Meganola albula

Numbers have been spectacular and the numbers of grass moths are beyond count. Long may it continue!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Elsie's Beetle

I love Tanner Beetles Prionius coriarius. They are massive and they look like they mean business. I mean you really wouldn't want to bump into to one at night down a dark alley. It would have your wallet off you soon as wave an antenna at you.

Just look at it....

I have only ever seen them at the RSPB headquarters at the Lodge and all have been around a single building there. My first was back in 2006 and my latest was today. This particular individual was found beneath the MV moth trap that is occasionally run and by the afternoon had crawled up the side of the building and was just sat on a wall.

They are magnificent creatures. What I noticed today was that the eyes can see below and above at the same time. Each eye wraps round the entire side of each head. The two sets of palps were also much in evidence and were constantly moving but not actually touching anything.  

I did try to think of a witty title but it was either leather or old Coronation Street characters. I went with the latter! Quite the resemblance......

Image result for elsie tanner

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Beach buggy

A hot and sunny day on the Suffolk coast found me poking around some brackish pools with muddy margins looking for beetles. I found a fair few but was rather taken with the large numbers of this bug that were pootling about the mud.

I usually ignore bugs apart from the more obvious shieldbugs as there's only one life and it will already take me the next 40 years just to begin to get a grip on the UK's beetle fauna, never mind the hemiptera....

Anyway, I thought these might be 'doable' so brought one home. I got as far as Salididae but then got a little stuck thinking it was a Saldula species.

A quick tweet and the ever helpful Tristan @BritishBugs corrected my mistake and suggested Salda littoralis. One of 3 closely related and similar looking species. However, the pubescent wings (that's hairy to you and me) mean that this one is indeed littoralis.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

L Dopa fixed me alright

A new longhorn species for me on my lunchtime walk today, Stictoleptura scutellata.

Seems to be increasing at the moment. The larvae develop in the dead wood of some species of broadleaved trees, but seem to be especially fond of beech, and take 2-4 years to develop. This one was found flying about between some silver birch and flowering bramble.


The scutellum should have yellow pubescence but I guess it's rubbed off on this one. Apart from that. It's big and it's black.

Gives me the following earworm 

Monday, June 25, 2018

A Furry Scot

Furry Pine Hoverfly Callicera rufa used to be restricted to the Caledonian pine woods of Scotland, but in a slightly bizarre entomological mystery it then turned up in a couple of west English counties in 2011. Had it moved south or come in from the continent? Naturally or on imported timber? I'm not sure if anyone actually knows.

It turned up recently at the RSPB's headquarters at the Lodge and another one was found last week prospecting a damp rot hole on a felled pine tree. Exactly the sort of place that the larva develop. I manage to 'twitch' it and took this rather shit phone footage,

I wonder if this species will spread and if it will be relatively commonplace in 5-10 years time.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Three new garden moths

Until today, I didn't believe that clearwings existed. People talked about them but I had no evidence that they were actually a tangible entity.

A bit like an omnipotent deity, really.

Until today. Today, one of my lures actually worked. Most seem to be duff but one of them finally pulled in one of these mythical creatures. Unfortunately, it came in, flew around, landed, let me look at it and then I failed to net it and it flew off. So I have no record except that which was burned upon my retina.

Yellow-legged Clearwing. Lovely. Now for the rest of them.....

I also had two new micros for the garden in the MV last night.

Blastodacna hellerella and Ancylis achatana both rather lovely looking things and both feeders on hawthorn. And there's quite a bit of that about .

Friday, June 1, 2018

Northern Tigers

The last Bank Holiday in May saw us decamp to NW Cumbria for a four night break. The weather was utterly amazing, wall to wall sunshine and decent temperatures. I'd never been to this part of the world before, the beaches were stunning and the lack of large numbers of people much appreciated. 

We visited Bowness on Solway and the RSPB Campfield Marsh reserve (much recommended) but it was a trip to Drigg Dunes just north of Ravenglass that was top of my list of destinations. 

The northern most population of Northern Dune Tiger Beetles Cicindela hybrida is found here and they were incredibly easy to see just south of the access to the beach. Lots of them though rather flighty I did manage a few quick shots. 

Their habitat is distinctly different from their southern counterpart, comprising sloping and more fluid sand dunes. There were also some Green Tiger Beetles Cicindela campestris in amongst them.

There was a supporting cast of other beetle species including large numbers of Otiorhynchus atroapterus on the Marram grass.

 And several Broscus cephalotes were under debris and running about the strand line.

Unusually for me I did notice and photograph a couple of spiders that caught my eye. The first, Arctosa perita, due to its beautiful colours and yet amazing ability to vanish when it stopped moving. The colours well-matching those of the sand.

The other one was a small jumping spider, a Heliophanus species, possibly flavipes if the pale legs are anything to go by. Rather cute and was completely unfazed as I got in close for a snap.