Thursday, September 24, 2020

Two eyes and an unexpected reply...

 



As Julie Andrews once warbled: Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. Assuming that is, you have not already guessed what this is from the photograph? 

I was on one of my many trips around local woodland the other day, just looking out for bugs and insects, when I spotted something on a birch leaf...




I thought I might have some idea of what this could be, but I was intrigued and so decided to try and investigate further. I took the leaf home with me and once in my studio, very carefully eased off the top layer, to reveal a pupa/chrysalis inside. It seemed very pale to me, and my guess was that it had only recently formed?



I took a few more images once I had released it from the cocoon so that I could get a clear view. I wouldn't normally recommend doing this, but I was most careful not to injure or upset the pupa in any way, and having done it once before, knew if I was diligent and conscientious,  it would come to no harm.








If you study the bottom one of these photos, there is a big clue as to the identity of what would eventually emerge from the pupa. Don't see it? Okay then, let's divert our attentions to something else for a moment or two, and then I'll explain.

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You might recall how in my last update I mentioned I had sent an email to Patrick Barkham at The Guardian Newspaper, after reading an article he wrote in which he was 'very unkind' let's say, about a Tachinid fly. Well surprise, surprise, I recieved a reply from him. Here it is...


Hello John,

Thank you for your email and I agree with you. I wrote that piece 11 years ago when I was younger and more foolish and had not yet given deep thought to various environmental crises and our relationship with species.

 I would definitely not use such language today!

V best,
Patrick.

Hoorah! The man has a conscience after all. I wrote back thanking him for his honesty. I also pointed out how even things you wrote 11 years ago can come back and bite you in the bum! 

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So where were we? Oh yes, the clue. Here, I have highlighted it in the next photo...


It was this image that confirmed, 99% anyway, that my suspicions were correct.

Have you got it now? Try this then...


Oh come on - I can't give you any more clues without telling you what it is! Okay then, I'll reveal all; here's the full monty.

 Erm, no actually. In true full monty style, I'll tease you just a little before the big reveal. How about a couple of recent garden finds; a lovely, minute, Misumena vatia Crab spiderling first...



Followed swiftly by a Brimstone butterfly that was visiting the buddleia...




Oh and, another spiderling that I found in the same woods as the pupa...










Yes: a beautifully pristine, male Vapourer moth. 

That's a wrap I think: or at the very least, something that rhymes with it! Time for my meditation...