Archive for May 31st, 2011

31st May 2011, Tuesday

Getting the Goat

Highlight in the Lime Kiln moth trap this morning was this Goat Moth (Cossus cossus). This is the first one I have seen and the first adult recorded on the reserve for over 10 years (though Sam had some larvae at Castle Water in 2008 – see here). As you can gather from this, larvae live in galleries in deciduous trees and may take several years to develop. The name itself comes from the larva which apparently smells like goat!
Goat Moth

31st May 2011, Tuesday

Ovipositing Chrysotoxum

This Chrysotoxum female was ovipositing on the leaves of a Montbretia plant in my garden this afternoon. The eggs ( or egg packages ) were left in groups of two or three spaced out along a number of leaves. This species could be C. cautum or C. veralli………..are the thoracic dorsum hairs ”long & dense”  ( C. cautum ) or ” shorter” ( C. verralli) ?. Ball & Morris say the larva of C. cautum are unknown, but thought to be associated with ants. Pupae of C. verralli have been found under a stone, and females seen ovipositing close to ant nests. There is an ants nest four to five feet away from the plant in the picture. Colin Boyd by email.



31st May 2011, Tuesday

Hunting Grass Snake?

I visit the pond in Red Barn Field Sedlescombe most days. Today this Grass Snake was seen swimming in circles at the surface. It then dived vertically & using its tail as a counter balance at the surface, moved its head back & forth over the pond floor. It then came to the surface near some water crowfoot , and stayed with it’s head out of the water. An approaching palmate newt below the surface caused it to move its head in the direction of the newt. It didn’t attack the newt though, and very soon sped off across the pond-perhaps it sensed my presence. Colin Boyd by email


Taking a breather after the dive

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