Archive for May, 2011

Not quite what I expected

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , , , on 31 May 2011 by bramblejungle

A few days after I first saw the shieldbug eggs, things weren’t looking so good
Eggs...
A week later they were even worse.
Bottled eggs
Flickr friends suggested I keep the leaf + eggs in a jam-jar to see if the (presumed) parasite would emerge, and here it is:
some sort of parasitic wasp, itself hardly bigger than a shieldbug egg
Parasite (close up)
Later in the day it’s a bit more recognisable, and another is about to hatch
And finally...

From eggs…

Posted in "Butts Piece", insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , on 29 May 2011 by bramblejungle

Spring is the beginning of the lifecycle of many species, and a good time for photography. Garden spiders have hatched:
Spiderlings
and shieldbugs have laid eggs under leaves:
Eggs
Meanwhile this leafhopper is moulting
Leafhopper moulting
to become an adult
Leafhopper (Oncopsis sp)
and start the cycle over again.
Leafhoppers (Oncopsis sp.)
Longhorn “fairy” moths are at it too
Nemophora degeerella pair
Here’s an adult male, which apparently has the longest antennae of any British moth:
Longhorn moth (Nemophora degeerella, m)
I caught this Harlequin ladybird in the act of laying eggs. I’d rather Harlequins weren’t here, but I have seen plenty of native 7, 10 and 14-spot ladybirds this year, so at the moment it looks as though the Harlequins haven’t over-run them – only time will tell.
Egg-laying

Beetles…

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , on 14 May 2011 by bramblejungle

…seem to be everywhere at the moment. Here are just a few:
A Tumbling Flower Beetle: hard to photograph, because as soon as they sense you they “tumble” off the flower to the ground
Tumbling Flower Beetle (Mordellochroa abdominalis)
A Broadbean Beetle
Broadbean Beetle (Bruchus rufimanus)
A new one to me, the tiny Longhorn Beetle Grammoptera ruficornis
Longhorn beetle (Grammoptera ruficornis)
and one of my favourites, the Soldier Beetle Cantharis rustica.
Soldier beetle (Cantharis rustica)

More mining bees

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 2 May 2011 by bramblejungle

In past years I’ve found tawny mining bees (Andrena fulva) in the lawn. This year they are back (as are the holes in the lawn).
Spring!
but they are not alone. Another mining bee, Andrena cineraria, is here:
Andrena cineraria?
Like A. fulva, these are harmless – and beneficial as crop pollinators.
Near the nests I’ve also seen Nomada sp. “cuckoo bees”:
Nomada sp.
Like cuckoos, these lay their eggs in the nests of other species – mining bees. Their larvae feed on the pollen stored for the mining bees’ larvae, and then the mining bee larvae themselves. Nature can be brutal, but somehow the miners survive, presumably by breeding faster than the Nomadas can predate them.

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