Saturday, 22 September 2012

What's this 'ere?

How well do you know insect anatomy? You should be able to identify the type of insect, if not the exact species, from this picture.

Click to see the full image and try to spot the feature in situ. What is it? The clue is in the title.

Liocoris tripustulatus

The dying tansy flowers in my back garden still hold some interest with what I suspect to be Liocoris tripustulatus taking fluids (not sure if nectar or sap). This common species probably developed on the nettles alongside. The excellent website is great for ID'ing bugs like these.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Speckled Bush-cricket

A semi-translucent male Speckled Bush-cricket, not so much back-lit as through-lit, at Mowsbury Hill this afternoon.

Comma imago

This blog's recent Comma theme continues, with an adult at Mowsbury Hill this afternoon. Note that like other Nymphalidae butterflies it appears to have only four legs, when, as we all know, insects have six. In this family the front pair have reduced to shortened "brushes" tucked up against the body. (These are the two dark stripes below the eyes in this picture). Some therefore refer to this family as the "brush-footed" butterflies.

Comma pupa

A twitching on my back-garden tansy suggested an invertebrate climbing around so I expected to find something like a cricket in the foliage. After a few moments of finding nothing my eyes fell on this Comma pupa, which then obligingly wriggled. Butterfly pupa often do this during their transformation, putting me in mind of a escapologist shaking off a straitjacket.

This tansy was adjacent to the nettles featured in other blog postings of a Comma egg and larva, but this pupa is so much later that it must be of a different individual.

P.S. This hatched on 9th October when I was volunteering at Flitwick Moor, so I missed it and have no pictures to show you either!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Just say what you see...

...I can't give you a bigger clue. On my buddleia.

Update: For anyone that is stuck and wants to see the full image, click HERE

Hawthorn Shieldbug

Whilst picking the apple off my tree (it's a poor crop this year) found a Hawthorn Shieldbug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale) sap sucking, building up reserves for overwintering as an adult.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Wasp Spider Progress

I've been away for a few days so was interested to see how the Wasp Spiders at SSNR were progressing.

Wind-blown seeds were clearly becoming a nusiance requiring housekeeping. This spider shortly after I took this became so buffeted by the wind that she surprised me by walking off the web, down a thistle, across the ground a few inches and up onto another more sheltered web - she had a spare one next door!!

A few egg sacs are now beginning to appear, surprisingly large.

The reserve's grasshopper and cricket population must be suffering in order to fuel their growth. This spider is feeding on a grasshopper (possibly a Lesser Marsh) and has a female Long-winged Conehead hanging on a thread for dessert, gruesomely very much still alive!