Sunday, May 11, 2014

Froggy went a courtin'...


I just thought I'd start with a 'Hmm'...hmmm really translates as, 'there's so much I could blog about now that the bug season is well underway, but, what to choose?'

I guess I'll try and cover as much as possible without meaning to skip around too much. Let's go back to a day when the sun was shining and the Military Canal in Appledore was where I spent a couple of happy hours.

I wasn't sure what I'd see on the day but I was hoping that I might encounter the fabulous marsh frogs that are well known residents of this area. They are quite a bit bigger than our indigenous species and the males can be quite vocal at this time of year.

What I didn't expect to see in the water were grass snakes...

(The usual reminder about being able to view videos only via the blog direct as they don't show in the e.mailed version)

I was lucky enough to find some frogs and took a few photos...

And here's the noise they make...

Moving along then, I seem to be finding unusually high numbers of green tortoise beetles this year... 

There are at least two different species here but even so, quite a difference in colour and vibrancy between them.

There also seem to be plenty of acorn weevils locally this year...

Now that the weather has improved and most of the trees are looking splendid in their spring/summer foliage, the egg-laying has started in earnest for lots of our native insects and bugs-here are a few recent sightings I've had...

An Orange-tip butterfly egg
Shield-bug eggs

Hoverfly ova (Syrphidae)

A single Hazel leaf-roller weevil egg
Wasp eggs?

Something I found whilst looking at nettle, a great place for lots of creepy-crawlies, was this odd looking growth. I wondered if it was some kind of gall?
A bit of research was called for and this is what I discovered; I think it might be an answer, unless anyone knows better?

The common stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) can be affected by the small Cecid fly-Dasineura urtica. It lays its eggs at the base of the leaf or in the main leaf veins. The larvae then consume the inner tissues of the leaf. But....other predatory flies will often lay their eggs in these leaf pouches that the original grubs created, then on hatching, these larvae predate on the original occupants. 
I think maybe that's what is happening here as the original grubs would be white/pale but the second are pink, orange or red.

Oh! Another oddity I discovered whilst out walking was this tiny fungi. It was on some fallen branches in a mostly pine forest...

Well my promise to try and prevent this blog update from becoming too disjointed is already failing miserably and added to that, it's becoming something of an epic already and so I guess I should think about wrapping it up fairly soon-I have a couple more photos to share first though, starting with this rather nice and aptly named lace-bug; apologies for the black and white image, sometimes I get all artistic! Actually, I think it does show the detail well in mono in this instance.

An optimistic glow-worm?
I know that these glow-worm larvae live on a diet of snails, but surely this is quite a size to tackle? I didn't have time to hang about and see who triumphed here but my money is on the snail surviving.

Although I have lots more that I would love to add to this update, it's perfectly possible that should I continue, I would be in danger of making this three times as long as it ought to be, rather than as it is now, twice as long and so I will squeeze in one last photo if I may and then hightail it outta here and hope that you'll be back here to share the next (more concise) update....please?

A yellow-tail moth larva
Until the next time then...

"And finally"...if you were wondering at all about the title of this blog update?


  1. All wonderful sightings and very beautiful shots. My favourite is.. snake, frogs, weevil, hoverfly ova.. okay.. I guess its not right to list everything as favourite.. but you get the point..

  2., so many favourites, that's wonderful-thank-you! So fast too, only just published the update...

  3. A fb blog again JJ! I love the snakes! But like Earthshine, I think it's all brilliant!
    Those frogs are great aren't they?

    Really good to hear that you have an abundance of many species too!
    Think your Cassida species are C. rubiginosa (1 & 4) and C. vibex (2 & 3). Stunning!

    The nettle gall I think is Puccinia urticata. A type of rust fungus. Quite a lot of it about this year. First time I saw one, I thought it was a caterpillar!!! ;-)

    Oh, and I have my money on the Glow-wrom larva! ;-)

    Best wishes


  4. PS Did you 'unroll' the leaf to find the Hazel LR egg? Fascinating!
    And yes, think those cocoons could be Braconid wasps.

  5. Hi Maria..well thanks for all the lovely comments again. I did look at the nettle rust but didn't think it causes such a swelling and the position too seemed to better fit with the cecid fly theory but having another look, I daresay you are right so thanks again. This year does seem to be good for inverts, locally at least. I can't recall for instance, ever seeing as many of those large drinker moth larvae as I have this year.

    Thanks again for your interest and input Maria.

    Oh the tortoise beetles? Yes, I did know those as I have found them before but was too lazy to add full details...very sloppy of me I know ;-) Anyhow, thank-you for taking the time to add those details, much appreciated.

    1. Ooops! About the leaf-roller? I actually watched the weevil constructing the roll..took a few photos too and yes, fascinated to know what the egg looked like, I Very carefully unfurled the beetle's work and took a photo and to my surprise, it re-rolled perfectly in a sort of recoil action and you would never know it had been disturbed. I was so pleased that I had no need to feel guilty at having disturbed it,

  6. Interesting about the leaf roll! Had never opened one for fear of 'destroying' it! Lol!
    I could very well be wrong about the nettle gall too JJ! Need an expert really. ;-)

  7. Hi JJ, I just love the acorn weevil have to find me one of those, it's so cute ! Also love the image of the yellow-tailed moth. Just done a post on nettles, still need to take a closer look at them see if I can spot some eggs..
    Amanda x

  8. Thanks Amanda. Yes, they are great aren't they, weevils are one of my favourite beetles. Might be worth checking under nettle leaves for eggs, that's where I have seen them most...

  9. Puccinia urticata is right and possibly Mitrula paludosa. It looks a bit neat for that but damp pine is right and I am struggling for a better ID.

    1. Thanks for the confirmation and tip on the other example, I will check it out...


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