Wednesday, 8 June 2011

False dawn

The high pressure weather system lasted approximately 36 hours, so we're back to rain again.

A few of our day-flying moths are quite butterfly-like in appearance and habit, although the smaller size will generally be a major clue to the difference. This is the Clouded Border -  Lomaspilis marginata -  which is associated with various trees. In this location it will be Willow:

Clouded Border moth  - Lomaspilis marginata

There are quite a few different species of Soldier Beetle in this area. This all-red version (apart from the black knees) is Cantharis pallida:
 Soldier Beetle - Cantharis pallida
Given that we're in early June, I suspect that its close relative Rhagonycha fulva will soon be appearing everywhere, especially on the flowers of various Umbellifers.

This isn't a new fly to me - I see it every year - but it is a new identification. It's the Callophorid fly Lucilia caesar:
Callophorid fly  Lucilia caesar

The Callophorids contain Bluebottles, Greenbottles and Flesh Flies, which are all recyclers of carrion.

Ichneumonids are now around in large numbers. This is perfectly reasonable, since there are many caterpillars and other insect larvae around to parasitise. This one was flying between - and carefully inspecting - the unrolling fronds of Lady Fern, presumably looking for moth or sawfly larvae:
Ichneumonid on unfurling fern frond of Lady Fern

This moth larva might well be one of its targets, although I haven't identified it yet.

Moth larva on Cow Parsley

It was crawling up the stem of Cow Parsley, but it isn't one of the Umbellifer feeders. Perhaps it was just sheltering from the rain.


The Weaver of Grass said...

I do wonder how these larvae get on in all the rain you are having stuart.

Stuart said...

Weaver, the rain is a mixed blessing: we have very clean air and our greenery is very lush. So we have lichens and mosses which are the foodplant for many insects and our fungi are usually very good, again providing food for many insect species. Insect larvae and adults are pretty quick to take shelter and can often be found hiding under leaves.

I find the most negative aspect of the rain is that it makes it difficult to work the vegetable plot.