Monday, October 29, 2012

Daniel Craig says it all...

Back in June of this year I came across a family of bugs underneath a maple leaf in local woodland...

I thought at the time they were perhaps aphids of some description and one of my flickr contacts Maria (Rockwolf) did what she has done so many times for me now, found a correct identity for the little things. (Thanks again Maria.)

Maple aphids (Periphyllus aceris) Is what they turned out to be. If only I'd considered it was as easy as finding an aphid named after the tree it was found on! Anyhow, that's only half the story.

These little critters have a fascinating and complicated life (honestly!) for instance...

Some are born as 'aptera' individuals. Meaning:Wingless,parthenogenetic,female aphids.Pathenogenetic meaning: Reproduction by development of an un-fertilised egg.This is basically asexual reproduction or to simplify it further-cloning.

Asexual reproduction
Asexual reproduction is the production of offspring by only one parent. No fertilisation of an egg cell or mixing up of the genes takes place, so all the offspring are genetically identical copies of the parent. Greenfly, hydras and strawberry plants can all reproduce asexually as well as sexually.Humans next?

Some are born as 'alates' meaning:Having wings.

If at this point you are still with me, the following photo shows how they now look. This was taken a few days ago...

I now know that the first picture shows what are known as aestivating nymphs. This means that they enter into a kind of hibernation until they resume development in the late summer.

Notice also how most of the heads are pointing towards the centre of the circle in the first photo.

The second photo shows that they have now matured into 'oviparae' (egg laying adults) the oviparae then lay their eggs on the maple twigs and bark and the whole cycle starts afresh.....fascinating! (Perhaps I should have suffixed that with a question mark?) Come to think of it that raises its own question-can a question mark be a suffix?

Let's move on shall we before, as I heard Daniel Craig saying in a radio interview this week,"I'm in danger of disappearing up my own ********"

This photograph of a crab spider isn't the sharpest shot you'll ever see but leaving aside my excuses as to just why it isn't that crisp-I wanted to include it because of what it shows.

If you look closely, you'll see that what appears at first glance to the a parasite attached to the right side as viewed here, is actually a red spider mite.

Now I may be wrong about it being a red spider mite but assuming that I'm not, I was always under the impression that these mites got their name from the fact that they look like spiders and not that they attacked spiders in any way. If that's true, then why was this one all over the little crab spider? Just hitching a lift? about a red weevil? "Red weevil? Don't be silly!" 

Apion frumentarium
Or as it's commonly known the Red Rumix Weevil. I think that rumix refers to dock as that's where these are usually to be found. I have photographed these little beetles before but never managed a natural light shot until now.

Everyone has been commenting on how few wasps there have been this year and I had to say that I have also noticed a big reduction in numbers,although I have also noticed an increase in hornets locally.

I did spot this insect recently and I'm guessing this is one of the Ichneumon's?

This next photo is of a bug nymph that I found a while ago now but have been unable to put an i.d. to that I'm happy with...

My initial though for this one was a 'hairy-bug' nymph but that didn't seem to fit when I checked it out. Then I thought perhaps it could be Corizus hyoscyami, a rhopalid bug? The only nymph photos I've seen of these though have little spurs/spikes at the edges of the abdomen.

Here's another view...

I seem to remember that the plant it was on was ragwort but not sure that is relevant.

As always, if you recognise this one, please do let me know.

Last up for now is this robberfly that I photographed in the garden as a bit of an experiment. It was taken using just natural light but is a stack of 20 hand-held images.

Whilst I guess I have to be pleased with the resulting level of detail-for me, I am not sure I like the effect, it seems a bit too sharp to be realistic?

Until the next time then...


  1. Another cracking blog entry JJ! Interesting to see how those Aphids have developed!
    Think with the bug nymph, you're right about it being a Rhopalidae (thickened antennae), but not too sure which species it might be yet.... Wondered about one of the Stictopleurus? Rhopalus nymphs, like the Corizus, seem to be far spinier! But I'm not a Hemipterist!! Need Tristan or Joe with a Camera ideally to take a look! :-)
    Found a Red weevil yesterday but didn't get such a good shot as you!
    Best wishes

  2. Thanks as always Maria-I appreciate both your interest and help.

    I may post the photo to flickr of the nymph to see if Tristan/Joe can help.

  3. thanks for sharing.


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