Friday, 3 June 2011

A dry day!

Today was the first dry day since 28th April, so I wasted no time.

The Orange Tip larva continues to graze on the Cardamine seedpods:

Orange Tip larva on Lady's Smock
The micromoth in the next image is the first of two new species for me on today's page. It's Coleophora albicosta, which feeds on Gorse, spinning up inside the flowers and then, eventually, a seedpod.

The micromoth Coleophora albicosta
I like the configuration that Coleophora specimens have....very elegant.

The 6mm micromoth Elachista apicipunctella is a leaf-miner on a number of grasses:

The micromoth Elachista apicipunctella

Moth Flies, or Owl Midges have the most amazing hairy wings. The drag must be immense for such a small (4-5 mm wingspan) creature:

Owl Midge

I thought this close-up of the Banded Snail Cepaea hortensis was worth showing:
Banded Snail Cepaea hortensis

Because of the incessant rain, I missed the very start of the local orchid season. Some specimens of Northern Marsh Orchid already have open flowers:
Northern Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza purpurella

With all the wet weather we've had, it's no surprise that the fungal rusts are so prominent. Puccinia urticata is specific to Nettle, and can cause these swellings on leaves and stems:
Nettle rust Puccinia urticata 
Fungi are quite expert at manipulating the shape of plants for their own benefit; in this case to maximise the surface area for spore production and dispersal.

Athous haemorroidalis is one of the Click Beetles. Click Beetles have a mechanism (clearly shown in the picture below) whereby they can trap and release a notch on their pronotum with a sudden click and go flying up in the air to right themselves if they get stuck on their back.

Click Beetle Athous haemorroidalis

An identification that has been bothering me for perhaps 8 years has finally been resolved. The Sawfly below is a male Tenthredo livida, which can be distinguished from other Tenthredo species that have white-banded antennae by the two-tone (pale v-shaped) stigma on the wings. You can just make out the red abdomen which identifies it as a male:

Sawfly Tenthredo livida (male)
As larvae, Tenthredo livida eat a wide range of plants, but the most likely candidate in this location is Raspberry. Now that I know what it is, I can check back on Sawfly larvae that I have previously photographed on Raspberry and check them for a match. I like tying up these connections, even if they take 8 years to resolve.

St. Marks Flies continue to appear through the year, and it's now time for Bibio pomacaeus, which is readily identified by the red legs:

St. Mark's fly Bibio pomonae
(The leaf it's resting on belongs to another Northern Marsh Orchid.)

Flies belonging to the Empidae are sometimes known as Dance Flies because they gather in swarms and move up and down in the air as they fly around each other. This is Empis stercorea, which spends its time between dances by catching other insects and sucking out their body fluids with that long proboscis:

Snipe Fly Empis stercorea

Agromyza nana mines Red Clover leaves, and the single larva can be seen right in the centre of the leaf.
Leaf miner Agromyza nana on Red Clover
I think I have a new favourite picture, but I rather suspect I'll get a new favourite, soon.


Emma Springfield said...

My goodness. You have such a widespread variety of insects today. And they are all so beautiful. I did not realize that orchids grew in Ireland. Every day I learn something new.

Gerry Snape said...

wonderful post...thankyou for all this information.

Anonymous said...

That is Agromyza nana.

stuart dunlop said...

It certainly is Agromyza nana. I'll amend it. thanks. Pretty sure subsequent id's will have been more accurate as I gained more experience since then.