Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Not so subtle

After the last entry about camouflage, some of these species seem to be quite the opposite - rather blatant. Bright colouration can, of course, still be protective: some species are toxic and don't mind being easy to see.

I rarely see dead Ichneumonids: they seem to be largely free from predators. I rather liked this rosy one (although I tend to be seduced by any Ichneumonid, really).

Orange Tips are protected by their internal store of mustard oil, which they obtain from the host plant as a larva, and the orange wing-tips of the males are a warning signal to any passing birds. In this shot, the female has her abdomen raised which is basically telling the two attendant males that they are too late:

This is one of the few Tachinids that can be readily identified from a photograph: Gymnocheta viridis. These are parasitic on large moth and butterfly larvae.

(See what I mean about a bristly appearance?)

There are hundreds of Crane-fly species, many of the larger ones looking very similar to each other. This Marsh Crane Fly - Tipula oleracea - has legs which are almost ridiculously long in relation to its wingspan; they reach almost to the top and right edges of this image:
Summer is certainly here: the Soldier Beetles are warm weather creatures. Cantharis rustica:
The hedgerow is suddenly full of tiny glittering micromoths. Glyphipterix simpliciella is dependant on Cocksfoot Grass, and can be seen flying near the host plant in large numbers.

They're about the same size as the black bit on the tip of a sharp pencil. I have no idea what the yellow ?aphid is.


Gill said...

What a splendid creature the rosy ich is - never seen one even approaching that colour. I hlaf wonder if it is a newly emerged red one (like damsel flies in their 'teneral' state - or don't other insects do that?).

Interesting shot of the orange tips, with one of the males having much paler, almost yellow tips - but with a clear dark edge. Amazing what you can see in a picture that you don't notice in life!

Stuart said...

'or don't other insects do that?'

I have only ever observed an Ichneumonid emerging once, and it was fully coloured before it reached the light, so I'd say this is the full adult colour. Here's my sequence showing Amblyjoppa proteus emerging from an Elephant Hawk Moth pupa: