Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Featuring the enigmatic,dorso-ventrally flattened, Platycampus luridiventris...

I have said this before and will probably do so again, but you just don't ever know what you are going to find next. Even at this time of year there are surprises in store. Sometimes, and I like this even more, there are discoveries to be made that bamboozle. 
C'mon, everyone likes a bamboozle or two from time to time, don't they?

Hmmm...maybe not quite the right expression after all...perhaps...befuddle would be better? Whatever! It just boils down to not having a feckin' clue if I am honest.

And so I thought rather than tease you later, I would be 'up-front' with the finds in question; finds I like to refer to as mystery objects. I have several, which leads me to think I should probably stop waffling and just post the pictures...

It's a cocoon I think, but what made it? Look at the way it is tethered to the little slice of wood it is resting on. It looks like a mini barrage balloon. I found it under a fallen branch in heathland habitat.

By the way, I am no longer uploading high-res images to my blog. On the plus side, being smaller pictures the blog should load faster.

What about the next one...

My guess would be that it is a hoverfly larva/pupa; it is only a guess though...

Now here's something you don't see every day. The thing about this one is that I should know what they are. I should, because I found the same kind once before. It was a long time ago though and I just can't remember now...

I think, and notice how many times I say think because I just can't be sure, but we could be looking at another hoverfly larva here. may be something entirely different because I have tried to find a matching hoverfly larva and failed. If it helps, it was found under a cow pat! Along with what I assume are beetle larva?

The other larvae looked like this...

Just one more mystery before I bore you silly?

Okay, not exactly a full-blown, all singing and dancing mystery because I am fairly sure this one is another hoverfly cocoon. It could be the cocoon of Episyrphus balteatus. Or as I once saw it described 'Episyrphus balteatus puparium'.

So now that at least one of us (me) feels better having at last dragged all those mystery objects from the folder that has been sitting on my desktop for a while, shall we move on? (Why did I add an interrogation point there?) That was intended to be rhetorical.
I was a little surprised to find this next creature a few days ago...

A Hazel Leaf-roller Weevil
The books seem to indicate May through July for these beetles, but as I am always saying, invertebrates can't read and so how are they expected to know. I do know there are 2 generations per year, but thought the second over-wintered as larvae.

Teeny, tiny, titchy is where we are going next with this Ragwort Flea Beetle. I should say that once again, I think that is what it is likely to be. (2mm)

Ragwort Flea Beetle-Longitarsus jacobaeae

I think I may have mentioned before, or perhaps it was on Flickr....hmmm...anyway, I was saying somewhere, that I have been finding lots of sawfly larvae this year and here's yet another one. This one is kinda funky don't you think?

Platycampus luridiventris
 This enigmatic (not over the top as a description is it?) larva is, in techno-speak, 'Dorso-ventrally flattened', added to the fact that they feed on the underside of leaves, which makes them hard to spot. They can spend up to 3 months in the larval stage and can be found until the autumn (providing they have read the books that is.)

The next one is, well frankly, not so pretty...

Caliroa cerasi
This is Caliroa cerasi, the Pear Slug Sawfly, or sometimes called the Pear Slugworm. Confusingly, I have also seen it referred to as the Cherry Slug Sawfly. These larvae cover themselves in a greenish slime (not sure where they acquire it, Tescos maybe? "I'll have a pack of Oykos yogurt 'cos I love them, and, oh! A large bottle of your best green slime please") making themselves unpalatable to predators (would you want to try one?) When fully grown, they drop off the tree and pupate underground. Next year, the adult emerges to mate and lays eggs on the host plant, completing the cycle.

And another...

This one stumped me for a while, until I started looking for larvae that used Figwort as a food plant. Guess what? This turned out to be a Figwort Sawfly larva: Tenthredo scrophularia. I've seen these larvae described as; dusty greyish white, with black spots and a generally creased appearance. Or was that somebody's description of me? Can't remember now!

Moving on,
I have seen Flatbugs before, I have seen Flatbug nymphs before...

But never have I seen Flatbugs, nymphs and eggs...

I guess if you don't like spiders, then now would be a good time to cut and run because that's what's coming next. Well, maybe I can just share this short video I took on my phone of some dragonflies egg laying whilst you make your escape...

The usual reminder about vids not showing in the e.mailed version. You might need to view the blog direct and online. 

When I found this tiny jumping spider on a sunny fence-post recently, I thought it might be Evarcha species, but was puzzled by the length of the abdomen which didn't seem to fit. I tried my best to ID it when I got home but drew a blank. I decided to try a specialist spider identification site on the internet and added it there, hoping somebody with more knowledge than me (or should that be than I?) might know.

Unfortunately, to date at least, the answer seems to be that people know what it isn't but not what it is. It was proposed that it could be a very young Marpissa mucosa spiderling. I think that may actually be a good shout. There are similarities and the habitat would certainly fit.

One of those happy coincidences happened whilst I was researching the possibilities of this being a baby fence-post jumping spider. Although I failed to find any photographic evidence of what the juveniles look like, I did see some pictures that could well explain the next images. I had thought that these (below) were examples of the most beautifully marked Marpissa mucosa that I have yet found, which they are, but it transpires that the reason could be that this is a young individual and the young adults are marked differently to mature ones. I love that, when you learn something knew by accident...

Marpissa mucosa (subadult?)


The next spider is associated with water, where it hunts along the banks of ponds and streams and can also walk on the water surface thanks to water repellent hairs. I've read that courting males have to signal their intentions semaphore style to avoid being attacked by the female. Perhaps I should employ that tactic John McCririck style. 
What a great name for a spider though? A Pirate Wolf Spider! 

Pirate Wolf Spider - Pirata piraticus. 

Okay, enough with the spiders. I will leave you with a little video of the beautiful, metallic weevil I found a while back...

Until the next time...

NB: I apologise if some of the text spacing is incorrect and some ranged, some centered. I have checked and re-checked the html code and it reads as correct and so can only assume it's Blogger messing around again. 

Additional photo (See comments)

A Dung Beetle


  1. Wow, what an amazing lot of interesting and very exciting finds! I love those larvae that are sporting pearl necklaces! Can't help with anything and the only thing that looks familiar is the larva that looks like either cockchafer or rosechafer but it's a slimmer version, probably the wrong time of year and not necessarily the right habitat being on a company, so I'm not being helpful at all, am I? :-)

    Just love everything here and had a good chuckle too, likening yourself to a sawfly larva :-) Now as far as the jumping spiders go, I thought the ones with the small pale pedipalps were sub adults, like the first one you posted. I'd have thought the second one was a grown up. It's a beauty, whatever it is.

    Your photos all look stunning whatever resolution you posted them at, although I'm on my Kindle so I'll have to check back from my desktop, as I can't view the videos right now anyway...... So I'll see whether I can see any difference in your photos! :-)

    1. Thanks so much for this long comment Mandy. Erm...I don't think that larva is one of the Chafer's as they live in the soil/grass I think. The spiders? Well, you may be right about the pedipalps but there are some that have pale palps as both spiderlings and adults. I probably shouldn't have labelled the second one as subadult 'cos I think it is an adult, but just a young one ;-)

      Thanks for checking out the resolution on my photos. I thought they still looked reasonable, even though they are MUCH smaller now.

      Thanks again for your comment Mandy.

    2. Rose chafers grubs are laid in compost bins though probably other places too - I haven't researched it. Also I couldn't think of the beetle I wanted to mention yesterday but Stag Beetle larvae look like that too, but they live in rotting wood. I imagine you have looked at the larvae of dung beetles?... that would be an obvious start! On big computer now but forgot to look at the photos and videos before I started commenting again, duh! Off to do so now. :-)

    3. Yes!!! Look at dung beetle larvae.... :-)

    4. Thanks Mandy. Yes...I was assuming they were dung beetle larva, being as they were found in dung and...I also found some beetles :-) It was the other 'grub' that intrigued me though, as to what that might be.
      I'll try and find a photo of one of the beetles I found and add to bottom of blog update...;-)

      Thanks again Mandy.

    5. Confusion reigns! I looked to see if there were any images of Scathophaga stercoraria larvae online but could only find the pupa on the English page of Wikipedia, which doesn't help much. You might have to raise one!

    6. Hi again Mandy,
      Yeah, I looked at those dung flies too but feel the pupa(?) is too large.I have to say that the pictures in the 'C' details do look very similar though and so it may be correct after all. Hmmm..raise one in dung? Am I THAT dedicated? ;-)

  2. Damn you autocorrect! COWPAT, not company!

  3. Totally fascinating as ever JJ! Your mystery objects are intriguing. The first one, brown pupa, well... have looked but not found any decent matches. Guess rearing them out would be the only way to know for sure!
    Agree that the second one is a hoverfly larva! But which? Do you know this guide?

    The larvae with 'globules' are a puzzle. I first thought some sort of fungus gnat.... but then discovered that some beetle larvae secrete a repellent liquid if feeling threatened... so I just don't know! Very helpful eh? ;-)
    The next one definitely looks like a hoverfly pupa again, and the beetle larva does looks like a Scarabidae! No idea which though!

    Love the variety of sawfly larvae you've found. The Platycampus in particular is amazing isn't it?

    Never yet seen Flat bugs, let alone nymphs, or even eggs!!???!? They're cracking shots!

    As for the spiders, well, I can cope with the jumpers, but the fangs on that Pirate are terrifying!!!


    1. Thanks for all this Maria. Yes, that first one has me puzzled, as does the second actually. I don't know that guide but will have a good study of it, so thanks for the link. I really DO know what those larvae with the globules are...if only I could remember!

      Not converted you to the beauty of spiders yet then ;-)

  4. Excellent images as always. that 'flattened' larva is my favourite.
    Sorry for being absent for long. My 'world's most unreliable' net connection to blame mostly. it failed to load even your more net friendly images even on earlier visit.

    1. Thanks for your comment. No worries at all about being unable to comment, it really isn't important, although I always enjoy when you do find time to do so. Thank-you again.


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