Friday, 2 July 2010

Bang on time

I was thinking it was time to see the summer butterflies and, sure enough, I found Meadow Brown, Ringlet, 2nd generation Speckled Wood and 2nd generation Green-veined White all within a minute of each other.

The Meadow Brown is a grass feeder, but it frequently basks on higher plants:

The Ringlet is also a grass feeder. This shot shows where it gets its name from:

That brings the number of butterfly species on this short (80 m.) section of hedgerow to 7 for this year:

  • Green-veined White
  • Speckled Wood
  • Orange Tip
  • Small Copper
  • Meadow Brown
  • Ringlet
  • Small Heath

There's still time for Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Painted Lady and Red Admiral, all of which have been spotted here before. Green Hairstreak is also a slight possibility.

I have found this Bramble-eating sawfly larva for a couple of years, now. I'm still working on an id:

The first of the Ichneumonids with the longer ovipositors have started to appear. These lay eggs into moth or fly larvae in grass seedheads or in composite flowerheads such as Thistle or Knapweed. They tend to feed for a couple of days before I see them laying, so I expect to get some oviposition shots by next week. The very long rear legs on this one suggest something close to Lissonota sp., which use the long legs to keep the abdomen clear of the seedhead when swinging the ovipositor into position on grasses.


The Weaver of Grass said...

Your site is a mine of useful information Stuart - I really enjoy it.

Stuart said...

Thanks for that, Pat, I'm glad you enjoy it.

If I had another life and easy access to a reference collection I would certainly study the parasitic wasps: I find them absolutely fascinating.

This page shows the state of play of a study that I've been carrying out for the past 3 years or so. The story just gets more and more interesting as time passes:

linsepatron said...

If you are still wondering about the ID of the Bramble-eating sawfly larva, I can help you with that.

It is, in fact, not a sawfly larva, but the larva of the micro-moth Schreckensteinia festaliella. It feeds on Raspberry and Bramble, skeletonizing the leaves. It pupates inside a beautiful open network cocoon.

stuart dunlop said...

Thank you very much for that, Linsepatron. It certainly makes sense: I have seen the adult a few times in that precise location. An excellent moth all round.