Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Boxing clever...

Just a quick update on my Death's Head Hawk-Moth larvae. They have now all pupated successfully and they are quite an impressive size, as you would imagine; they also move around quite a bit at times...

This video will need to be viewed directly on my blog as it won't appear in the email version

They are now safely buried in soil and I will be watching to see whether the adult moths emerge this year or overwinter.

 A couple of interesting flies? Yes....flies is what I said!

This robber-fly was snacking on an unfortunate moth. I am not sure of the species but it was quite a large fly.

Coremacera marginata (Sciomyzridae)
This one pictured above isn't the best of shots I know but, I only had the little camera with me and I am not as good with it as some of my photographer friends  are (Maria). It's quite a common fly in damp, grassy areas and visits flowers. The larvae however, predate on snails.

It has wonderful wing patterns though for such a small fly and it was great to see it, even if it was briefly.

I recently paid a return visit to Hothfield Common Nature Reserve...

I was hoping to find some Gorse Shieldbugs in their winter colours, but there were none to be seen on the day, at least I didn't find any. I did have one nice find of something else I was hoping to see though...

Anarta  myrtilli caterpillar
This is the caterpillar of the Beautiful Yellow Underwing moth that feeds on heather, of which there is plenty on the heathlands.

Even though it was a wet start to the day at Hothfield, there were a number of critters about and I got to photo both an adult and nymph of the Hairy Shieldbug.

A few harvestman were running around on the fence posts...

A few more sightings from Hothfield...

Sometimes I only see where something has been rather than finding it on the day. For instance, I spotted this example of where a moron had been earlier!

There was also plenty of cotton grass...

You know how it is? There you are thinking to yourself that there seem to be more Coreus marginatus in all instars about than you can ever remember, when you do a double take, because one looks...'a bit funny' and on closer examination it dawns on you that it isn't a Dock Bug at all.

That's what happened in the old orchard just behind the house when I was checking the bramble the other day. 'This could only be Gonocerus acuteangulatus?' Was my next thought; well okay, maybe I wasn't able to call the Latin name to mind, but the thought that it must be a Box Bug was what was going through my mind, even though I had not discovered one locally before in all the years of bug-hunting...

I decided to have a thorough search to see if there might be a breeding colony here. It wasn't too long before I found a late instar nymph as well..

Then a teneral adult...

And so it does look as though there is a little group of these bugs locally. Once described as very rare (RBD1) and really only found at Box Hill in Surrey, from where they get their name and feed on box trees, it is now found across the south-east of England and beyond. Quite how long they have been so close to home and why if it is sometime, I have failed to see any until this year, I'm not sure.

At last the dragonflies are staring to get about here in reasonable numbers-mostly Common Darters I would have to say, but also a few big Hawkers. I have only managed to photograph a couple thus far but given the opportunity, I'm sure there will be many more.

Until the next time...


  1. Fun to see the twitching pupae! The robber fly is a superb image. The nature reserve looks like a fantastic place and great that people are marking up recent sightings. Shame about the morons though!

    I'll have to inspect my Dock Bugs more carefully now just in case. I haven't come across the Box Bug before. As for Odonata, I saw my first Common Darter at the weekend, but most of what I see around my pond is of the never stop flying kind, which is very frustrating.

    Fantastic photos including the fly taken with the 'little camera'. :-)

    1. Ha! Got rid of those 'orrible grey backgrounds :-) Sorry but they've been buggin' me...

      Yeah that reserve is special and somewhere I try and visit every year if I can as the habitat is so different to anything locally.
      Not sure about Box Bugs being in France ;-) Thanks for being so kind about my photos Many ;-)

    2. I didn't mind the grey boxes. ;-)

    3. Thanks ;-) They kinda bugged me...see what I did there? ;-)

    4. Yes..... you are bugged by (grey) boxes ;-)

  2. Wow! They really are twitchy aren't they? Amazing!

    Another brilliant blog JJ! You're very kind about my pics but there's nowt wrong with yours looking at that fly!!! The Nature reserve looks an excellent place to explore. Unfortunate about the ubiquitous morons though. Drives me mad.

    Love the Hairies of course, but what a fantastic find the Box bugs are! Jonathan will be very pleased with that record I'm sure! Interesting that they were on bramble too. Not sure how far north they've reached yet but will keep my eyes open! You never know! :-)

    Gorgeous shot of the Cotton grass. Love seeing swathes of it.


    1. Thank-you as always Maria..yes those people who leave bags hanging on fences are committing a worse crime than not picking up at all in my view...Grrr!

      I was chuffed to find the Box bugs so close to home and did one of those double takes ;-) Surprised they were on bramble but there was hawthorn close by...


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