Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The blob!

On a recent bug hunt in woodland that is within 100 mtrs of home, I found a large fallen tree, that I would think had come down in the great storm of 1987.

The natural process of decomposition means that the bark is now separating from the wood of the trunk and knowing that such conditions can provide winter homes for many invertebrates, I decided to investigate.

Once again I was lucky enough to discover something new to me...



Now this is obviously a larva of some description but I haven't found anything like it before.

Actually, that's not quite true because on discovering this creature, it reminded me right away of cereal leaf beetle larvae,although this 'thing' doesn't have legs/feet-at least, no discernible ones.





I'm not sure if those spots around the lower edge of the abdomen are significant in identifying them?

Anyhow, I've had a bit of a poke around the internet and thumbed through some reference books and thus far, I only have two possibilities.
Figwort Weevil-Cionus scrophulariae larvae looked kind of similar but that's 
purely based on photographs, I'm not sure the habitat would fit.

Here's a photo (not one of mine) for comparison...


The other possible one is the Fungus Gnat larvae {Mycetophilidae) but again, I'm not convinced that's right either.It could be right but of the examples I've found so far,they see to be a different colour and longer shape.



I don't think it could be  a beetle larva but there is still diptera to consider and maybe even tipulidae?

Pretty sure this one isn't hoverfly either (famous last words) but here IS a hoverfly larva that I found close-by on the same day...



Under the same bark I spotted some very pretty little snails that I also can't recall seeing before...





Away from the fallen tree I came across a few more tiny snails-these were all in leaf litter and were I suppose about 3-4mm long...






This next one was my favourite find, a real beauty!



Back on the fallen tree, under yet more bark I found some nice fungi...







And my favourite fungi find...



Look under any fallen bark etc. and chances are before long you'll encounter one of these critters...


I think these would come under the heading of Acari, or Acarina. This is a taxon of arachnids that includes ticks and mites-all are very small, as this one was.


Another creature that is beginning to show up now that winter is on the way, is the nymph of what eventually becomes quite a large hopper-this one is Issus coleoptratus...


These hoppers overwinter as nymphs and I usually find them either in leaf litter or on ivy.

And that just about completes another blog entry.

Until the next time...


7 comments:

  1. Wow! Fantastic and interesting finds there JJ! Love the larva! I'd be inclined to go for Beetle - and due to it's resemblance to the Oulema, I'd say Chrysomelidae. Probably totally wrong though. Doesn't quite look right for Diptera....

    A coincidence with those snails as I recently picked up something in my garden and the underneath was coated in these same tiny snails!

    Your favourite Fungi find is certainly my favourite too! Isn't it gorgeous!
    Love the hopper nymph too! Do wonder why they have these bristles at the back.... very peculiar!

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  2. Oh and just had to add my 'yuck' at the Acarina! Lol!

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  3. Thanks as always Maria-the filaments on the hopper are in fact wax secretions and there seems to be a bit of discussion as to their exact purpose.
    This from the internet: Many Homoptera produce wax, which has diverse functions : egg protection, defense against predators, fungi and parasites, protection against rain (it repels water) or UV rays.
    In these particular nymphs, their role is still unclear.

    The larva does look beetle-like, I agree but was expecting to see some evidence of legs/claws if that were the case? I'll have e delve into Chrysomelidae though and see what I can find.


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  4. Interestingly, having had a look at the Chrysomelidae larvae, quite a number of them seem to have those lower abdomen spots-still can't seem to locate those thoracic legs that should be there though!

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  5. Thanks for the hopper info! Very interesting! I've yet to find one with these filaments. The only larvae I've ever found have been in the 'spit'! Lol!

    As regards the 'unknown' larva, wonder it it has a sort of 'skirt', so that the legs don't show.... Certainly intriguing!

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  6. The bright orange fungus is Phlebia radiata, my favorite fungus too!

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  7. Thanks for the i.d. on the fungi Tristram.

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