Friday, 21 June 2013

Beetlemania

Just one quick visit to the moor was all i could manage this week. (Wed 19th) and what a scorcher it was. Very hot and high humidity made for a sweltering morning. All nine species of Warbler, that are breeding on the reserve, were seen or heard including two Grasshoppers in the carpark field. Three Turtle doves, Marsh Harrier and Raven all seen from the bridleway. The Insects took centre stage today. As memorable for the fantastic one that got away (From the camera) as the ones i was lucky enough to photograph. The one that got away was a huge parasitic Wasp (Cryptocheilus comparatus) this huge wasp with elongated body catches mainly Wolf Spiders, including in warmer climbs Tarantulas. It stings them to cause paralysis and lays its eggs in the zombified body. Three species of Longhorn Beetle were found. By far the most common is the Agapanthea Villosoviridescens. This magnificent insect with its outrageously long blue and black antennae was found all along the bridleway with seven seen between the Cattle pens and the hide alone. I watched one being stalked by a Wolf spider. As the spider approached, the Longhorn charged at it like a Bull, sending the spider scuttling for cover.

Agapanthea Villosoviridescens..



Longhorn being stalked..


Wolf spider, Longhorn Confrontation..


Another member of the Longhorn family is the Strangalia Maculata. Found along the Roman road, this lovely Beetle was flying between flower heads. It's black and Yellow striped antennae are not quite so impressive as it's cousin's but a beautiful insect nonetheless.

Strangalia Maculata..





In Flight..





The third family member is the Wasp Beetle or Clytus Arietis. It is a fantastic Wasp mimic it can often be seen scurrying along tree branches and logs waving its antennae.

Wasp Beetle..





Another Beetle to look out for is the electric green coloured Oedemera Nobilis. It can be found mostly feeding on nectar in Buttercup flower heads. The swollen thighs on its hind legs are a good identification feature.



Another unusual sighting was a rather fat Scorpion fly gorging itself on food stolen from a Spiders web. In the photo you can clearly see the tail, that gives this insect its name. When threatened it will wave its tail in the air. It feeds on dead animal matter and rotting vegetation.


Soldier flies..
This order of flies hold their wings straight along their backs often covering up a very colourful body.

Beris Clavipes..


Sagus Iridatus..


Large hover or Bee fly..


Other photos...

Cricket with snail shell..


Crab Spider..


Four Spotted Chaser..


Red Eyed Damselfly caught in Spiders Web..



Upside down, Huge Drinker Moth Caterpillar..





Drinker Moth clasp, holding on..


Garden Tiger moth Caterpillar..



Burnet Companion Moth..


Silver Ground Carpet Moth..



Reed Bunting showing tail..


Lesser Whitethroat..



Blackcap..


Red Kite..