Thursday, September 17, 2015

It's fun to wander through, the alphabet with you...

Why is it sometimes so difficult to know where, or how to start a piece of writing? After all, there are only 26 letters in our alphabet and all I have to do is to pick out a few and order them into some semblance of recognisable language and half the battle is already won?

Perhaps I will take the alphabet as my lead this time and try to structure this update in alphabetical order.

Here goes then...

Is for.....Bugger! I don't have anything beginning with 'A'

Is for Barkfly...

There are currently 68 known species of barkfly in the UK, although they are much under-recorded and so this is likely to rise at anytime. You might think that with only 68 to chose from, I could readily identify this one? Wrong! Too many similar looking ones for this barkfly novice to pick from.

Is for Caterpillar...

This caterpillar was displaying behaviour I have never seen before. It seemed to be pulling at the surface of the leaf and extracting sap? Or...certainly there was some kind of translucent liquid involved, that it appeared to be covering itself with. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to observe it for more than a few minutes. Having had a look around the internet for an explanation, I am still no wiser. 

Whilst we are on the letter 'C' I found a stem of dry grass that had a whole colony of emerging caterpillars...

Once again I can offer no ID for these tiny larvae. They were really small though, three of the eggs fitted into a 1mm length.

Is for Dead Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar...

This elephant hawk moth caterpillar was still firmly attached to the willowherb it had been feeding on, but had failed to reach pupation for some reason. When I spotted it, it was being 'up-cycled' by a female scorpion-fly.

Is for (live) Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar...

It has been a good year locally.

Is for a Fence-post Jumping Spider...

Marpissa muscosa
I know I am probably going to regret this when I get to letter 'M' but here is the largest jumping spider we have in the UK. 

Is for Groundhopper...

A Common Groundhopper (Tetrix undulata)
At 8-11mm the Common Groundhopper is related to Grasshoppers, but is smaller and well armoured.  These are to be found in drier places but also woodland rides, which is where this one was. I'm not sure but, possibly this is a female?

Is for Harvestman...

Leiobunum rotundum-A Havestman
One of the long-legged Harvestman that can be found from late summer, though autumn. I think there are roughly half the amount of Havestman species to Barkflies in the UK with a couple added to the list quite recently. Some of these are southern species only and I really should make an effort to see how many of those I can record.


Is for Lizard skin...

Is for.....erm...Damn! I knew I should have saved that spider. OK, give me a minute, I am determined to find something.

Here's a little musical interlude whilst I's a banging toon!

(This won't show in the emailed version of my blog. You will need to view online)

Be skipped it didn't you? Your loss. I have my finger on the pulse of popular culture, especially the latest trends in music and you'll only have yourself to blame when this becomes 'Top of The Pops' and you still haven't heard it. Oh well...I tried...

Is for Mystery...

When I saw this I was convinced I had found my very first Bristly Millipede. Well, convinced for a few seconds anyway. Looking closer through the macro lens, I could see that it is probably a beetle larva of some description.

Is for Nothing to be seen here!

Is for Oh Please Quickly go to the letter 'R'...

Is for Robberfly...

I found this large robberfly sitting in the sunshine on a fence, as they like to do.

Is for Sawfly Larva...

Eriocampa ovata-An Alder Sawfly Larva
These larvae grow to about 2cm long and are covered in a white, powdery substance that is supposed to camouflage them as bird droppings. They lose this in the final instar and become green.

Is also for Speckled Wood...

Pararge aegeria - A Speckled Wood Butterfly

Is for Troilus luridus...

Troilus luridus - A Bronze Shieldbug
A woodland species of shieldbug that can be found as an adult from July onward. If you are not an shouldn't even be looking!

Is for...U Very well know I don't have anything for these letters...

Is for Wasp...

Okay... Okay! It's not a wasp it is a bee. Be pedantic, I don't care!

Let me try that again?

Is for Woundwort Shieldbugs...

This year has been a really great year for these bugs in the garden. There are still plenty to be seen, and at most stages of growth too.

Is for...

Until the next time...

Its fun to wander through the alphabet with you...(link)


  1. Well now, you could have found Zicrona caerulea!! ;-)
    Brilliant again and very entertaining! Scrolled down eventually, full of antisipation: SHIELDBUG!! But no..., thankfully I didn't have to go much further to see one. What a cracking T. luridus that is. Gorgeous iridescence you've captured! Lovely to see the Woundwort SB too!
    Your tiny caterpillars *might* be Large yellow underwing (Noctua pronuba) as they tend to lat their eggs in clusters like it.
    The mystery larva is a mystery to me too! Lol!

    1. Ha! I did consider adding Z. caerulea that I found a while back but these are all recent finds and so decided to stay with that. I knew you'd be looking for shieldbugs though Maria!
      Erm...yeah, I have had yellow underwing eggs before but from memory they were larger than these.

      Thanks as always for your interest and comment Maria ;-)

  2. Okaaay..... finally I got to look at your blog through my big screen, which is why I had not commented. Doing it via my Kindle is a bit of a pain. I love the theme here and thought about trying something like that myself but to be honest I haven't got the energy. I love the notebook look of the photos too.

    You always make those Eriocampa larvae look SOOOOO cute! I haven't seen any this year but normally do, and I know how hard it is to make them lift up their heads and get out of the curled up position. Impressed by the bronze shield bug looking so blue - I've not seen one of them. Really envious that you've seen Ele Hawkmoth larvae again - I have been looking in vain again. And that dead one with the Scorpion fly is brilliant.

    Do you ever go through phases with insects and spiders, with ones that are your faves for that year? A few years ago I couldn't get enough of spiders, particularly jumping spiders and trying to photograph them. I haven't shot a single 'saltie' this year! I think this year has been about butterflies and moths because real macro was a bit hard. Though I have enjoyed seeing little jumping 'specks' on my indoor windowsills cos I know what they are now. ;-)

    1. Hi Mandy.
      Thanks for taking time to comment here. Yes, I just thought I'd try something different for this update. It's easy for things to get a little stale and although I have tried various options to spice things up a little, they look good on a PC but not mobile devices most times. It is time consuming too of course.

      Those bronze shieldbugs do seem to exhibit stronger colours the closer we get to winter. The elephant larvae have had a real good year locally. Even today I saw two more on the willowherb.

      Yes, I do go through phases with bugs and insects. One time it was Issus coleoptratus, a hopper that I particularly like. Then there was the time that I got fascinated by collembola. I love salticids too and also went through a time where I was looking solely for spiders.

      Thanks again for your interest and lovely comment.


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