Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"Don't crickets have funny knees?"

NOOOOooooo! What is this government we elected doing? 'There is no other way' we are told..'The welfare cuts are essential.' Yeah that's right you bunch of two-faced hypocrites, take from those who can least afford it and tell them to get over it, when at the same time you are wasting millions of pounds on a hair-brained scheme such as culling grey squirrels

Wake up to the facts! Grey's are not doing the apocalyptic damage you claim. For God's introduced them as they considered them to be 'fashionable' and it's man that must fess-up to being the one who has blood on his hands regarding the demise of the reds, now the government will give millions to farmers and land owners to cull the grey squirrels 'using whatever method they prefer.' This isn't about the reds at all. This is about the very same thing that drives almost every move this lot make, filthy lucre! In the words of Arlo Guthrie...'Kill...kill...kill!'

Sorry! I'm better now, really. I found my chill pills and necked the whole bottle. I am calmer than a sleepy sloth now...

Shall we crack on with a blog update? After all, it's what I came here for and I hope you did too...

Not a great deal of detail on this image of a sawfly larva now that I have restricted the resolution and it is actually a huge crop from the original too. However, I wanted to try and show the amazing mouth parts. I found this one right in the middle of a moult and was fortunate enough to be able to hang around and take a series of shots as it tried to free itself from the old 'skin'...

'Pycnomerus fuliginosus'....."pardon?"...."Pycnomerus fuliginosus", it's a small beetle that is also known as an Ironclad Beetle or a Cylindrical Bark Beetle." So what?" I hear you cry...............................................go on then, I'm waiting!
I'll tell you, better still, an image that nicely illustrates what a joy it was for me to recently spot one of these intriguing beasties...

These two pictures show the recorded finds of this beetle in my area (West Kent) as well as the neighbouring county of East Kent. You can see, there aren't any...that's 'so what'.

Before I get too carried away, I guess I should share a picture or two of this tiny beetle...

What made this such a great find for me was that this particular creature belongs in the Antipodes. At least, that's where it originates from. An import from Australia, to put it plainly. Of course I am always aware that like so many other species, this is probably under-recorded, here's beetle expert Mark Telfer who I submitted my find to for confirmation of ID...

"I’m sure you’re right that it is P. fuliginosus. It has become well established and is quite a familiar sight to me. However, it hasn’t spread all that far – I’ve personally only seen it in VCs 3, 11, 13, 17 and 24 (S Devon, S Hants, W Sussex, Surrey and Bucks). I know it also occurs in Northern Ireland. I would be surprised if it is not established in Kent but I don’t know for sure."

 Moving right along...don't crickets have funny knees?........................ Well? 

I paused for you to ponder, to hypothesise, even a gentle explicate if that's what floats your boat. By the way, don't you hate, at least dislike, all those phrases like 'Float your boat'-'Blue-sky thinking'-'Push the envelope'- Tick the boxes'...Grrr!  Wish I hadn't used one myself now. Shall I erase it? Nah...if it comes outta my head, it goes in the blog! So then, a cricket with funny knees? Certainly...

Oh Feck! That's an earwig isn't it...let me try that again...

C'mon, you gotta admit that this Speckled Bush Cricket has odd knees? What are those 'fried-egg' shaped things all about I wonder.

Whilst we are...procrastinating about knees and genuflection in general, that is what we were doing wasn't it? I know I was. I was sitting here, hand on my forehead in contemplation of just whether it would be possible for a cricket to indulge in true genuflection, by bending its right knee to the ground. Probably not and even more than that, I doubt they are religious either?

Erm, oh yes...what do you think these little blighters are?

I can't even recall what plant they were on now and it was only a few days ago that I found them, maybe hazel? I was asking myself there by the way, not you and so don't feel obliged to answer, unless you know of course. I think they must be plant bugs rather than aphids or anything like that but who knows? I sure don't!

You see...this is how my brain lets me down, what has the above photo got to do with knees? Nowt is the one word answer. I...distracted myself there and my original thought pattern disappeared faster than a f**t in a fan they say in these parts. Let me try and drag it back kicking and screaming to the forefront of my overtired mind. I was about to say this...

"Did you know that ladybirds/bugs bleed from their knees?"

Yes, it's true. Startle a ladybird (not sure how I startled this one or even if it was me that did so) and it will ooze a foul substance from its knees. This process, that is supposed to deter any predator is called reflex bleeding. The 'Hemolymph' (the fluid in the cavities and body tissues of insects which transports nutrients) is both toxic and frankly, disgusting.

I have been photographing hoppers whilst out and about with the camera and here are just some that I have collected over the past few weeks...

Now that I see them here, I think there may be two versions of one of the pictures? Oh well, put it down to my poor vision? I am always seeing double.
Joking aside (yes, that was a joke) my eyesight can't be too bad or I would never have been able to find this extremely small springtail...

Almost certainly the smallest collembola I have yet photographed. I couldn't begin to hazard a guess at an identity at this tender age but I daresay there are people who will know.

Wanna see something you don't see everyday? Oh goody, 'cos I was going to post it next anyway...

These slender and slow moving insects are called stilt bugs. They belong in the Berytidae family. I think this could be Metatropis rufescens. I have only ever found two individuals and so assume they are not too common locally.

Edit: Oh no it isn't! Please see comments for correct ID (Thanks Maria) This is in fact a similar bug of a different family: Reduviidae  At least this means I probably have never found one of these before...

Well I think it's time for me to add the very last picture for this update and it brings us right back where we started, with a grey squirrel. I photographed this one at a local park a few days ago...

Don't just sit, run...they are out to get you little squirrel!

Until the next time...


  1. Fabulous sawfly larva mouthparts JJ. How amazing to see the detail. Stevie

    1. Thanks Stevie. Yes, it amazed me when I saw what they look like in close-up...

  2. Another cracking blog JJ!
    Think your 'stilt' bug is in fact one of the Assassin bugs (Reduviidae) - Empicoris vagabundus.
    The bugs on the hazel do look a bit like aphids. Can't quite see if they have the 2 tubercles on the abdo or not though.
    It is funny isn't it, to think that crickets have ears on their knees! Never seen them in such detail though. Brilliant!

    Congrats on the beetle find. Seems they have a rather southerly distribution at the mo (apart from N.I.!), so not sure if they're in Shropshire.

    As for the government, well, don't get me started!!!! ;-)

    1. Hi Maria...

      Oh thanks a million for pointing that out. I kept looking at Stiltbugs and somehow nothing seemed quite right. It was how it struck a 'mantis-style' pose that had me thinking it MUST be one of them but of course the thread-legged bugs also have that same stance...should have thought about that! Also the rostrum eh...;-) Anyhow, always grateful to be corrected. Yes I agree also about those tiny bugs being aphid-like, that's why I mentioned aphids but I couldn't see the tubercles either-my photo just doesn't have enough detail. Yeah...crickets are amazing little creatures aren't they. I guess that's what those weird things are just below the knees, 'auditory vesicles' I think they might be called? I really must check that out.

      Thanks as always for your input Maria. Good luck with finding those beetles in Shropshire too...;-) I will update the 'stiltbug' info...

  3. lol you are a nutter, JJ. All that talking to yourself. ;-)

    Amazed by all the colourful hoppers - guess I don't see many of them because I need reading glasses to see but I can't walk in them.... so tiny bugs are only spotted when I am doing something with specs on or deliberately looking for bugs (with specs on). Congrats on finding that beetle and I enjoyed your post cos I always learn something (as well as the amazing photos). I didn't know about the grey squirrels - poor things, I enjoyed seeing some when I was in England recently.

    1. Little point me denying it Mandy! ;-)
      Thanks again for a lovely comment on my blog. Yes, specs can be burdensome for the photographer eh? The squirrels need somebody to be one their side ;-)


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