Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Don't ask stupid questions, unless you want a stupid answer...

`It seems hard to believe but my stats tell me that I've had this blog since November 2010 and in that time I've had close to 10,000 views.

The map below also shows how it now gets read in an ever growing number of countries too, with the green shaded ones being where folks are kind enough to read these missives.

Time then to thank everyone that's either been here from the start or has joined along the way. I'm very grateful that you're there for me, it would all seem a little pointless without you.

Let's crack on with the latest update then...

A couple of things to tie-up from the last entry:in fact, this relates to the previous one as well-the shieldbug nymphs that I've been finding on alder recently.
I've been observing how the nymphs are progressing and today found something rather special.

This was one of those 'Wow' moments that leave you feeling that you have been privileged to be an observer of nature at its most remarkable...

These tiny nymphs were mid-moult when I found them and were struggling to free themselves from their old skins. I was transfixed by this and somehow felt sorry for them, unable to help. It seems such a hazardous thing to have to undergo and to think they have to do it several times before becoming an adult.

I've only been lucky enough to photograph this behaviour once before,and never with this species. It really made my day.

Once the nymphs had fully emerged I could see that underneath there was an adult parent bug. There also seems to be a hawthorn shieldbug nymph looking on.

Hawthorn Shieldbug nymph
Whilst I seem to be compiling quite a nice little set of shieldbugs and their nymphs, here's another to add to the count...

Final instar Woundwort Shieldbug nymph

I hinted in my last update that the rare sawfly larva I'd found wasn't the only uncommon find and I can reveal that my other rarity was...well, have a look at the following photo...

By the way, before I tell the identity of this beetle (if you haven't already guessed that is) why does it always seem to be that when something of real interest like this turns up, you can bet there will only be just one chance of getting a photo and then you'll probably mess-up?

This is not the best shot you'll ever see of this small beetle, but it is the only shot I managed!

Platycis minutus is an 8mm beetle that has a Notable B. status in the U.K.
Looking for all the world like a miniature cardinal beetle but identifiable by amongst other things, the buff antennae ends.

Angle Shades Moth
A couple of moths now:always a pleasure to see these beautifully marked moths. This one was resting on teasel as you can probably tell.

 It has also reminded me of something else that could be considered another unwritten law of macro photography-why is it that just as you settle down to take a photo, in what appears to be total solitude, as soon as your finger hovers over the shutter button, somebody materialises out of the ether and insists on either telling you their live history, or asks the immortal and familiar question..."What are you doing?"- "I'm fishing! What does it look like I'm doing pointing a camera at a moth?" Well that's how the reply goes in my head sometimes, I've not been brave enough to voice it......yet!

The Herald
Clock this one! Scoliopteryx libatrix or The Herald to you and me. This is possibly where I should add the usual bit about clicking on any photo for a larger view, you won't regret it with this stunning insect. If there's a more beautifully marked moth then...well O.K.There are so many moths that chances are there will be, but still, what a beauty and fresh as a daisy.

I seem to be skipping from one species to another here- It's just not cricket is it? But next up is member of the Tettigoniidae family. 

Oh! It is cricket after all! To be precise, a female oak bush-cricket. (I'm never quite sure as to whether I should use caps for species names?) Nothing too remarkable about finding an oak bush cricket on oak of course, a couple of things struck me about this individual though.

The first obvious one was the wing position. I've not seen them being held in this way before. and what about that dodgy antennae too? Then (and now might be an opportune moment to do that 'view larger' thingy again) I noticed something strange about the 'knees'.

I think this may be in the early stages of succumbing to the fungus that takes over its host and encourages it to climb to a high point, in order to spread the wind blown spores over as wide an area as possible?

Enough of the grizzly side of nature-time for an arty spider shot. Taken from quite a distance this one, I liked the way the seeds from the nearby willow herb had settled in the web.

I'm thinking that one more species might well be enough for this update and so I'll leave you with a mollusc...

I was really pleased that this shot turned out as well as it has because the little snail here is only around 5-6mm and I didn't use flash. I haven't been able to put an i.d. to it but I really like it-it reminds me of the coloured glass marbles we used to have as kids.

Until the next time...

Finally,finally! No news to impart regarding the African snail eggs I'm afraid-have given up hope now.

All photos taken with Canon 40d Canon 100mm macro lens and natural light.


  1. "I'm Fishing", Excellent! that cracked me up.
    However i know exactly where your coming from, usually happens to me when i'm quietly moving towards my target & someone bounds over & asks what i've seen.. "nothing now you've just scared it off"..
    Another Interesting blog entry JJ, Wonderful photo too great work...

  2. Thanks Mark-yes, it happens to us all I guess. The other thing I get is people asking "Is my dog bothering you"

  3. Oh *W*O*W* JJ!!!! Would love to witness shieldbugs changing their skins like it! They're exquisitely detailed shots! Superb! Brilliant read as ever and what an excellent beetle to find too!

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  5. Thanks Maria,
    Yeah, I'm still buzzin' from watching that and it was days ago now! Been back to where I found the beetle but couldn't find another-did find something nice tho! :-)

  6. Very nice blog-you should write a book on these critters!


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