22 June 2011

Male and Female

It is not always possible to tell if an insect is Male or Female but in some cases with a bit of "insider" knowledge and knowing what to look for it isn't too hard.

Large Skipper Butterfly

Large Skipper - Ochledes venata - Male

This one is quite subtle but the giveaway is the black "streak" mark on each forewing which indicates it is a male. Note the lack of this on the female below.

Large Skipper - Ochledes venata - Female

Scorpion Fly

Scorpion Fly - Male

With the Scorpion Fly you need to look at the tail which gives it its name. The male has a bulbous turned up tail like a scorpion whilst the female (below) doesn't.

Scorpion Fly - Female

Longhorn Fairy Moth - Nemophora degeerella

Longhorn Fairy Moth - Nemophora degeerella -Male

Can you guess what it is yet? Yes the distinguishing feature of this male is its unfeasibly large antennae. To be fair the Female (below) has pretty large antennae for its size, but not in the same league

Longhorn Fairy Moth - Nemophora degeerella -Female

21 June 2011

Recent Selection

I've been a bit busy lately and whilst I have managed to get out and about a bit I have not had time to sort out my pictures and make any blog entries so I am going to offer up a bit of a  random selection

Common Spotted Orchid 
This was at Knapp and Papermill NR amongst thousands (?) more in the wild flower meadows there but I have also seen huge numbers of them at Oversley Wood and Trench Wood. I don't remember seeing so many last year so maybe it is a good year for them. 


Forest Shieldbug Nymph - Pentatoma rufipes

Shieldbugs go through a number of phases (instars) on there way to adulthood, and often look very different from the Adults even when in the final Instars.I think this is probably a late Instar and compare it to this Adult from a previous post. You will need to scroll down the page)


Common Earwig - Forficula auricularia

They aren't unusual or rare but I don't see many Earwigs. Probably because they are primarily nocturnal and usually keep hidden away in the leaf litter or under things. Anyway this one looked like it was having a day out and feeding on top of an umbellifer


Snail Killing Fly - Sciomyzidae ?

I struggled to identify this distinctive fly but I think I have narrowed it down to the so called Snail Killing Flies. I couldn't find out much but, if like me, you are wondering how this small thing kills snails well I think it is actually the larvae of the fly that does the damage as it parisitises the snails.


Bombus Pascuorum - Common Carder Bee

I'm not 100% on the ID, I keep thinking it can't be that hard to get grips with Bumblebee iD but they do vary quite a bit and  they also move about so quickly and you usually need to see Head / tail, Front / Back of the bee to confirm iD. Anway I am trying and what I can confirm is that this is a social Bumblebee and it is a Female because it has a Pollen Basket.

And that really is what is so striking about this picture. Look how full the Pollen Basket is. What a size! Time to go back home for a rest if you ask me , this has been a very busy Bee


Leaf Rolling Weevil - Apoderus coryli

I just like these Beetles, they are such an odd shape ( and easy to spot!)

Bagworm Moth - Psychidae

Moth?? you say. Well the larvae or Pupa of  of a Psychid moth.Within the shell of twigs will be a silken Pupa from which will emerge either a winged male or possible a grub like female which may not even leave its "shell" but extend its abdomen to mate. There are a number of different species and  they cover themselves in various bits of  plant bits / sand / debris.

They are very easy to overlook as there are often bits of fallen twig etc on leaves but once you see one of these you will start to notice more because you know what you are looking at.



I am also spotting a lot of these. Might be the time of year or, as above, maybe I've got my eye in.

7 June 2011

Cardinal Beetle

I only featured the Cardinal Beetle in my last post but I saw a couple of interesting ones at Knapp and Papermill NR at the weekend.

Cardinal Beetle - Pyrochroa serraticornis

Ok so not the finest specimen with a strangely bent antennae but this picture is purely for reference against the next picture.....

Cardinal Beetle - Pyrochroa serraticornis

I managed to catch him (?) at the moment of take off which gives a rare insight into a beetles anatomy. Looks like one of those "Transformers" toys.
The (red) wing cases are called Elytra and they are hardened modified forewings which protect the softer membranous Hind flight wings.

The Elytra are held open in flight whilst the hindwings do all the work. If you have ever seen a beetle in fight you will know how ungainly and unaerodynamic they look and from this picture you can understand why. But I suppose as a secondary means of mobility it does the trick.



Cardinal Beetle - Pyrochroa coccinea

In my last post I mentioned that there is a black headed version of the Cardinal Beetle but I had not managed to spot one. Well I have now.

I was alerted to the noisy ungainly flight of a Beetle and whilst it is hard to tell what sort of beetle in flight it was clearly Red and of a size which could only really be a Cardinal Beetle and he landed close by and at about waist height so I wasn't going to turn down the opportunity to get a picture even though I had seen and photographed others that day.

I was busy lining up the shot and getting focus etc and had probably even taken a shot or two before it suddenly dawned on me that it had a black head!! A real lightbulb moment.

Cardinal Beetle - Pyrochroa coccinea

And he generously posed for me, showing off his spectacular antennae.