Sunday, 4 July 2010

Calm before the storm

Sometimes art and science come together. This shot of an Ichneumonid on Cleavers has a very pleasant symmetry:

As I was selecting the shots, I found this one with two minute Ichneumonids, which I estimate were between one and two millimetres long. Notice the transparent 'hooks' which give the plant its 'stickiness':

Liriomyza congesta is a new-to-me leaf-mining fly which mines various members of the Pea family. I found it on Meadow Vetchling:

The diagnostic features of this mine are the green frass with black dots.

As if we needed confirmation that we are heading nose-first into the darkest depths of winter, I found my first specimen of Rhagonycha fulva for this year. These usually emerge after June 21st., when the larger Umbellifers (Hogweed, Angelica....) are starting to flower.

And this closely-related (but very much smaller....6mm.) member of the Soldier Beetle family is also new to me. It looks closest to Malthodes mysticus:

This handsome-looking chap is one of the Tetanocera, or Snail-killing flies. These lay their eggs close to snails, which then eat the eggs. The larvae then hatch and consume and kill the snail:

Snipe flies are fearsome predators, taking other insects in mid-air:

The micromoth Celypha lacunana is around in huge numbers at the moment:

The other day, I showed the Buff Tip moth taken at night with flash. Here's a daytime shot:


Yoke, said...

Great post again, Start! A snail killing fly; I think a lot of gardeners wuold want of these.

I love Buff tips; I still haven't figured out how or where the eyes are in that "woolly" looking top of the moth.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Flies are so exquisitely beautiful aren't they - it is best not to think about their darker side. Incidentally hogweed is everywhere here at present -as the cow parsley has died back so the hogweed has reared up.

You may be interested to hear that an owl box on our neighbouring farmer's land now has two baby barn owls in it.

Stuart said...

Yoke: I'll put up a pic tomorrow showing the eyes (or at least their location).

Weaver: I don't see a darker side. It's a war-zone out there...everything trying to survive without being eaten. If you have Cow Parsley and Hogweed, do you have Upright Hedge Parsley? Mine is just in flower now, looking like a smaller and neater (and sometimes pinker) version of Cow Parsley.

Nice to hear about the owlets....Barn Owls are lovely birds.