Friday, 12 June 2009

Mixed bag

This is the fourth (and final, I think) of the Damselfly species on my local patch. Emerald Damselfly - Lestes sponsa, a male.

The Downlooker Fly - Rhagio scolopacea - is one of the Snipe Flies. They adopt this characteristic position on leaves, bark or plant stems, leaping to catch passing insects and returning to their perch to consume their prey.

I rather suspect that micromoths are widely overlooked. Most of the 'flies' or 'midges' seen fluttering around on verges and hedges are, in fact, micromoths. They can be detected in flight by their erratic, sometimes spiraling, trajectory. The instant they land they become virtually invisible, either blending into the background or hiding under leaves. Most of the shots I get of them come from observing the flight pattern and keeping them firmly in sight until they land.

This is Ancylis badiana, which has two generations per year:

This large (20mm) Ichneumonid is readily recognisable from the white-tipped antennae and ruby-red abdomen. They land on leaves and very quickly run to the underside in search of caterpillars to parasitise.

The very long proboscis of the dance-fly Empis stercorea has multiple uses. Here it is being used to suck up nectar from Cow Parsley flowers.

Yet another new moth species for me: Coxcomb Prominent - Ptilodon capucina. You can just imagine how well this would be camouflaged against bark or dry leaves.

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