Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Bug porn at Brakey Bank...


When I unexpectedly had to buy a replacement mobile phone recently, this place came to mind. Purchasing the phone didn't exactly break the bank, but it was a bit of a trial (yes, I know the sign says trail - it's called word-play ☺)


And so...early one morning, just as the sun was rising,


 I fell out of my bed and into the car; drove for about 35 minutes and when I arrived at Brakey Bank, my phone (Grrr!) still only said...



That's a.m. by the way. Way too early in my day for bug porn: but that's what I was faced with soon after I arrived. I call it porn, but it may have been nothing of the kind; they may have been in a loving, long-term Coleoptera relationship for all I know...

Bonking beetles

And then, no sooner had I left these two, wet as an otter's pocket, and still 'apud tantra', than I came across (no pun intended) these two wired up weevils...I tell you, Brakey Bank is a den of iniquity early mornings...


I suspect those are Figwort weevils. They look very much like it to me, and after all, that is Figwort they are perched on; not that it is conclusive proof because as I am always saying, bugs can't read (that we know of) and so they don't understand the reason why they are sometimes named after a particular plant.

Take this mullein moth larva for instance...


Was it Mullein that I found this on? Nope..t'was...Figwort again. UK Moths has this species of caterpillar feeding on Figwort and Buddleia. Still, I did notice that the internet signal was almost non existent at Brakey Bank and so I doubt this larva has even seen their terrific website. 

At the far side of the meadow, there is a wooden seat. I sat down for a while, and I guess my eyes must have relaxed for a few seconds, possibly from lack of sleep! I found myself staring into the middle distance almost cross-eyed, I must have looked like somebody trying to focus on one of those magic eye pictures. Anyhow, I noticed a tiny circle on a grass stem that looked like a chocolate button. 

Should I investigate? Yes, I should...

I stood up, took just one pace towards the chocolate button, and...fell over my camera bag! Thankfully, at that time of day, there was nobody else around to witness my blasphemous outburst. I know, because I checked; it's the first thing you do when you fall over right? Check to see if anybody saw you. And what was this chocolate button in reality? 



Not sure? Maybe a closer look will help...


It's actually an early instar nymph of the Scutelleridae family: Eurygaster testudinaria, the Tortoise Bug. Although at this stage they are no larger than a gnat's nipple, the adults are sizable shieldbugs.


As I sit here writing (Tuesday 26th June), the clock on the wall says 11:33 pm and so I think I will leave you to contemplate this next picture whilst I get some much needed shut-eye. No rush: I shan't return until morning. By which time you will be confident that you know what creature features in this...magic eye picture, won't you? A clue? OK, there is more than one critter in the image. Good luck, see you in the morning...

Not sure if this'll work if you are viewing via your phone?

Bugger! A full moon: will I be able to sleep I wonder. Oh! You don't care huh? 

Anyhow, I 'Googled' it and it isn't actually a full moon until Thursday, so I reckon I will be alright. Of course it could be Thursday by the time you read this, I'm not sure if that will be more confusing for you, or for me. 


Yes, a new day has dawned and it's already 65 deg in the garden at 8.50 am. I did sleep well, despite what did look like a full moon, I think you will agree... 



Back to my adventure at Brakey Bank then. BTW, if you are wondering exactly where this place is, here's a little map...



Yes, it's part of those green areas on the map, which are Tudely Woods. Anyway, let's crack on; my next find was a first for me. I have never seen these particular dragonflies locally...

Cordulegaster boltonii  A Golden-ringed Dragonfly


This is the only member of the Cordulegaster family in the country, and one of our largest dragonflies; I think the female (this is a female) may be the longest.  BDS (The British Dragonfly Society) describes the habitat thus 'Breeds in acidic rivers and streams of all sizes. May be found away from its breeding habitat over heathland.' Probably why I have never seen them at home then, no acidic rivers, streams, or heathland. 

After finding so many parasitised bug eggs this year, it was nice to see these looking okay (at this stage)...


And these must have been successful I guess...


Of course empty eggs doesn't mean that bugs emerged rather than parasitic wasps, but I think the previous ones I have observed where it has been wasps, haven't had the little hinged lids open like this.

I also discovered this lovely pair........of Puss moth eggs...








This poor little cricket had met its end at the hands of a female Misumena vatia crab spider. It was only a young spider and similar in size to its prey, but I guess the cricket had no defense? I did find an even smaller spiderling in the garden at home; same species too...



Not sure of actual size, but at a guess I would say about 3-4mm.

Another top spot in my garden was this recently moulted Woundwort shieldbug nymph...


I struggle with recalling the scientific names for these bugs and it doesn't help when they seem to be constantly changing. For instance, these used to be known as 'Eysarcoris fabricii'. But then the people who have the power to rename bugs decided that something more snappy was required I guess, and came up with 'Eysarcoris venustissimus' 



And finally, don't try (as I did) to take a series of shots with the intention of making an image stack, when your subject is constantly moving its antennae...





2 comments:

  1. Another brilliant blog and cracking images too! Of course, it goes without saying that the shieldbug eggs and nymphs are my faves! :-)
    Used to love those magic eye images, and had a few books when it was all the rage! I can see two lovely leaping dolphins! Amazed it's possible to see them online!
    Last image made me chuckle!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really! Those eggs are your favourite Maria? Unbelievable, hadn't even realised you LIKED shieldbugs ;-) I am not only amazed that you can see those images online but that YOU alone were able to identify the dolphins xx

      Last image also made me chuckle, that's why I added it ;-)

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