Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Various tinies

The hedgerows are almost up to speed now that all the greenery is available. The availability of greenery brings larvae to feed on it, the presence of larvae brings ichneumonids to parasitise them. This medium-sized ichneumonid is about 15 mm. long, including those wonderful antennae.

Some of the micromoths really are minute, but many are are at least as pretty as the macros, and some are much more beautiful. This is Glyphipterix simpliciella - the Cocksfoot Moth. The larvae live inside stems of Cocksfoot grass. The adult moths are 3-4 mm. long, and can be seen running over the leaves and stems of the host plant at this time of year. The only way to see these is to lie down in a bank of grass and wait for them to land, as when they're flying around they look rather like midges:

I mentioned leaf miners earlier and they have started to appear (indeed some are finished already). This is the mine of Phytomyza chaerophylli - an agromyzid fly. One of the main identification characteristics for the mines of flies is that many of them contain a double row of frass (polite word for dung) in the mine. In these flies, the teeth are oriented in a such a way that the fly must eat right to left and then turn onto its other side and eat left to right. As it turns, its rear end points in opposite directions, resulting in the two rows of frass. The section of leaf shown here is about 15mm. across:

An easily identified hoverfly: Melanostoma scalare. I liken the yellow abdominal patches on these to oven gloves. (Female) fly about 12mm long.

One of my first butterfly images of the year: Green-veined White with the Click beetle Athous haemorroidalis (lower left).


Anonymous said...

Excellent website. Congratulations and continue the good work!

Mel Lloyd said...

Thanks for the id of the Cocksfoot moth - which we saw today flitting around a hawthorn bush on chalk downland. Cocksfoot was abundant in the field. Great blog.