Wednesday, June 01, 2016

"On your left!"

Just like jogging, blogging is something taken at a slow, or leisurely pace. Well for me it is. Would you rather have more of something worth less, or less of something with more value, has always been my mantra. Which is probably just my highfalutin way of saying that I have had nothing worthy of sharing since my last update...until now!

I intend this update to be part 'local' and part North America in content. If you are sitting comfortably, let us begin. If not, what have you been doing? I gave you fair warning...

This cute little nymph was one of many I spotted on the roses in a public garden in California. It looks quite like our Speckled Bush Cricket but it might well be something very different, even a Katydid?

Closer to home; in fact much closer, this was in my garden. I know these are Donacia species but I wouldn't want to go further than that. Sometimes called reed beetles. 

Also in my little garden, I found this beautiful but tiny beetle...

I probably don't need to tell you that I don't have an ID for this one yet? No, thought not!

Back to sunny California then: I was astounded at how loud the crickets were and yet, I didn't ever find one to photograph...


When I said that I never did find a cricket to photograph, that probably wasn't the whole truth: I did find this quite large insect. In fact, I think it was possibly the very first invert that I photographed in America...

I assume it wasn't this species that was chirping, but it could have been I suppose. Not this particular one though as it is a female and it's the males who sing.

There were some 'cracking' Damselflies...

Back home in the U.K. I found this amazing fungi...

And it's really good to see that our native 7-spot ladybirds are doing well this year. Not that you can tell how many spots this one has...


Time to climb aboard that big metal bird and sit with your knees in your face for 10 hours now, as we cross the Atlantic again: "Chicken or vegetarian sir?"...

As you can see from the photo above, macro photography in the USA was a real learning curve for me.  This is a picture I took not long after arriving and whilst using natural light. I hadn't taken into account just how strong the sun is out there and that meant harsh shadows too. Anyhow, these two Eurygaster species shieldbugs seemed to be having fun.

Eurygaster testudinaria - A Tortoise Shieldbug
A Eurygaster species of shieldbug that I photographed here in Kent a couple of weeks after returning.

I was really hoping to find some Mantis whilst I was there, but had to be content with this egg case. We worked out that it had most likely been parasitised by a wasp.


We have already had a few crickets, in fact probably more than Buddy Holly had in his band and so how about a grasshopper instead?

Ah it a Grasshopper, or possibly Tetrigidae species, or even Melanoplus? These are the questions: now where did I put the answers I wonder!

I think I have only ever found one Snakefly in England. In America however, well certainly North America, they seemed plentiful. A couple of locations I visited around the San Francisco area had lots. This one is a female.


Leucospermum is a genus of about 50 species of flowering plants in the family, Proteaceae. Most species are native to the Western Cape Province of South Africa, where they occupy a variety of habitats including scrub, forest, and mountain slopes. 

I cribbed the above information from an internet site, just because I know little about the Leucospermum plants, other than I did know the Protea are the national flower of South Africa, I remembered that from when I lived there for a while. The one pictured below is aptly named 'California Sunshine' and it was in the beautiful Californian sunshine that I spotted the plant with a rather unusual looking fly...

I think this might be an Athericidae species and possibly a Watersnipe fly, but I have reservations about that. Whatever it was, there were quite a few of them interested in the protea plants.    

Lots of these Harlequin Bugs around as well...
And even eggs... much to share and yet so little space and time. I haven't even gotten to the jumping spiders, or the beetles, bees, lacebugs or humming birds yet...

Ah well, maybe another update will include the rest. Before I go, you will be wanting to know which it was of the photos from my last update that was taken using flash and which with natural light? Well if you said the bottom photo was with flash, you would have been correct. Well done!

PS: I have had a few requests to share some more general photos of my trip to California and so I have set up a Temporary page HERE where you can take a look at some of my snaps. 


  1. Amazing and fascinating blog JJ! Nice to have an assortment from home and away too!
    The images are totally stunning as usual (and in the link too - especially love Gordon!).
    Such gorgeous insects you've encountered.
    My first thought on the fly was that it was in the Therevidae family, but then I'm not familiar with the Watersnipe flies so you're likely right!
    Really exciting to see the American bugs too! Wow! I'd love to find some in other countries (other than France of course!).
    Interesting about the Snakeflies. Never seen one, but it's a bit far to go for that!
    Looking forward to hopefully seeing more! :-)

    1. Ok, as regards the beetle, have a look at the genus Helophorus...

    2. Thank-you Maria. Gordon eh? That dates you...;-) Yes, I am unsure about the fly, but thanks for your suggestion which I will certainly check out. Oh it WAS really exciting finding 'foreign' bugs! I actually had most fun just finding and photographing them and sharing is a bonus. You have been doing pretty well in France by the way ;-) Snakeflies seem to be having a good year here judging by the amount of photos I have seen?

      I daresay I shall get tempted to add more pics here soon. Thanks again

      Oh! The beetle...okay, will check that out too...


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