One of the rarest species in the RX area is the endangered beetle, Limobius mixtus. It is a 2-3mm weevil that feeds on stork’sbill (a fairly widespread plant) growing on sand, but the only modern records in the UK are from Castle Water (? we think). It wasn’t recorded there last year, so I looked for it yesterday and failed, but today Chris found three. The background colour varies, but most have a dark triangle on the midline of the wing cases. For a video of it feeding on a flower bud of stork’sbill …. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the 'Insects' Category
Insect numbers have certainly been better the last couple of days, and I have noticed an upturn in the number of species in the Lime Kiln moth trap after what can only be decribed as a dismal start. Highlights have been bordered ermel, oblique striped and rosy wave, while easily the most photogenic (in my opinion anyway) is Catoptria pinella, a rather attractive micro with larvae that feed on various grasses growing in damp habitats.
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If your life depends on a rare plant you are vulnerable to its disappearance. The Endangered flea beetle, Dibolia cynoglossi (3mm) is found on and eats red hempnettle (a BAP species), making characteristic scars on the leaf surface (see above). In the last few years rabbit grazing has reduced the amount of red hempnettle and the beetle, but they can still be found in good amounts in and around the rabbit exclosures – especially the small exclosure west of the Mary Stanford lifeboat house.
Another insect feeding on the flowering biting stonecrop. This time it’s Clanoptilus marginellus, a Notable B malachite beetle (9mm) found locally on coastal habitats. It’s abundant at the moment along the beach, feeding on the pollen of several different flowers.
When it’s the Red Data Book soldierfly Long-horned General (Stratiomys longicornis). The clue is the fact that this only has two wings (bees have four) and the antennae are made of only three segments (10 plus in bees). Still it’s a pretty good solitary bee mimic which had me fooled for a moment. You can also tell that this is a male due to the fact that eyes meet in the middle. In Britain this species largely occurs on the coast in the south-east, the larvae being associated with brackish pools. It’s a few years since I’ve seen it here (and there have been very few records) so it was nice to see this one outside Lime Kiln today feeding on biting stonecrop.
Long-horned general on biting stonecrop
While walking the dog yesterday evening I came upon this beast under a piece of driftwood. It is called Broscus cephalotes, one of a small group of rather parallel-sided ground-beetles that make burrows in the soil. Most of these are less than 1cm long, but Broscus can be more than twice that and combined with a ferocious set of mandibles this makes it a formidable predator (these same mandibles are also used to dig and maintain the beetles burrow which is made in loose, sandy soil). Food is largely shore-line crustaceans such as sand-hoppers and the like, but it will attempt to eat almost any suitably sized creature that comes within range of its jaws.
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I came across a female Emperor dragonfly this morning dormant, cold, wet and laying in the grass. It’s not often you get a chance to get close to these aerial masters, it was fasinating to see the way the water droplets on the eyes had magnified the surface showing a small proportion of the thousands of ommatidia.