Friday, 13 August 2010


This shot should give you an idea of what my weather's been like recently. Notice that the light outside the rainbow is noticeably worse than that inside it. (It brightens up again outside the second rainbow if there is one.)

Some insects were still flying (or landing, in this hoverfly's case):
Harvestmen are related to spiders, but they don't make webs. They tend instead to lie flat on leaves or flowers with a single leg hanging out as a trigger to alert them that prey is approaching. It seems that the Philaenus spumarius leafhopper isn't what the harvestman was looking for.
Leaf miners are easy to spot: they're completely static and the weather doesn't affect them. I saw this mine on Raspberry and immediately knew that the miner was a sawfly: sawfly larvae have a typical 'round-shouldered' appearance and embryonic legs. Turns out it's Metallus albipes, and is new to me.
Notice that most of the frass is neatly packed into the disused part of the mine. The higher insects like wasps, bees and sawflies show a high degree of domesticity.

Virtually every stand of Rosebay Willowherb has a few mines of the micromoth Mompha raschkiella:
Notice that the mine never strays far from the midrib for long: a good strategy on such a narrow leaf.

An interesting shot of an Agromyza nana mine on Clover: the larva has mined another leaflet and then entered this one via the petiole.

A nice shot of two Ichneumonids:


The Weaver of Grass said...

We are surrounded by rosebay willowherb here - so I shall now go out and investigate it more thoroughly. Isn't it a lovely plant? I passed a field where pheasant are reared yesterday and there was a big patch in the centre of the field - the colour was intense.
We are having similar weather here - the farmer has cut the grass for hay and now it is raining, in spite of a better weather forecast.
Did you see the asteroids last night in Ireland?

Stuart said...

Weaver: Sadly I didn't see any of the perseids: we had 10/10 cover, as we do on most nights.

If you feel like it, lie down in the middle of the Willowherbs and look upwards: that's the easiest way to find larvae of the Elephant Hawk Moth....huge larvae and a wonderful moth. The pink of the flowers is carried on by the larvae and appears on the adults in exactly the same colour.

I think weather forecasting must be a wonderful career: you can get it wrong every day and still keep your job. Weather forecast for today? "Dry with sunny periods". It's bucketing down.

Anonymous said...

Its Agromyza nana, not congesta.