Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Biter bit

Harvestmen are related to spiders, but are different in that they have no 'waist' in the main body, and they don't make webs: they tend to lurk on leaves and flowers and leap out on their prey. This is Mitopus morio, with accompanying phoretic mite. I'm not quite sure why these mites are so brightly coloured, but I suppose if you're harmless, then you don't have to hide.

Here's a closeup:

For the last 7 years I've been photographing my local wildlife and at the start I wandered around finding opportunistic shots. I still take shots of whatever I find, but I also find more interesting shots if I target something, rather than be drawn here and there by whatever I see. I've been looking at ferns more closely this year, because I know there are related species that I haven't found (the leaf-miner from last week is a perfect example). Here's another:

Notice that the spore-bearing sori of the Male Fern - Dryopteris filix-mas - have been scraped off and gathered together in a pile in the centre. That 'lump' is the home of the larva of a micromoth, probably one of the Psychoides sp. I'll need to breed it through to see what emerges.

Tonight's opportunistic shot is the Spined Shield-bug - Picromerus bidens. These have just reached adulthood after going through a series of nymph stages: a feature in common with all other bugs.
I find these quite numerous, but only in very tightly confined environments: where bog meets woodland fringe.

1 comment:

Stuart said...

Later thought.

Actually, the mite could be a problem for the harvestman: it was the red dot that caught my attention - the harvestman would be much better camouflaged without it.

Unless it's fishing.....