Sunday, 8 August 2010

Still on the Angelica

The Angelica is still our major nectar source, and it should still be in flower for the next two weeks, although the central umbels have now gone to seed. I wandered along the lane examining all the Angelica, but also glancing at other plants as I passed.

This shot required observation and anticipation: the Eristalis tenax hoverfly was wandering in a fairly straight line across the Ragwort, so I focussed on the flower and took the shot as it came up over the horizon.

Meliscaeva cinctella is one of the later hoverflies to emerge. The larvae are predatory on arboreal aphids.

The Nematoceran fly Sciara hemerobioides is all over the Angelica at this time of year. The larvae are fungus eaters, and the adults live for only a few days:

This Ichneuminid intrigued me. Why? It was only 5 mm. long:
Another new moth came to my window. It's the Antler Moth. Guess where it got its name from.


Yoke, said...

Great photos again, Stuart.

The Sciara hemerobioides I photographed last week. I think it was the black wings which caught my eye; quite unusual.

I've seen a quite a number of Ichneuminoid in 2008 and 2009, however I've not seen any this year yet! Are you seeing a difference in numbers at all?

Stuart said...

I would say I have seen many more Ichneumonids this year, although probably more males than usual and fewer females. (males aren't always required - the females are usually self-fertile). On my trip to Scotland, however, I didn't see a single specimen. That's almost certainly due to a lack of moths which were also rather thin on the ground.

As a figure to work with, I reckon I see perhaps 100 Ichneumonids in a 20 minute photography session. Amblyteles armatorius is particularly numerous this year, which probably points to a successful year for the larger moths last year (although 'success' is a relative term when so many potential moths turn out to be Ichneumonids).

Gill said...

It just gets better and better :-) That E.tenax shot is just wonderful. I saw reasonable numbers of ichs earlier in the season, but numbers do seem to have dropped of late - and I never get as many as you.