Archive for the 'Insects' Category

27th June 2012, Wednesday

Rare weevil

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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 »

26th June 2012, Tuesday

Some fine weather at last!

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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Catoptria pinella
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23rd June 2012, Saturday

Rare plant rarer beetle

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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.

22nd June 2012, Friday

National Insect Week

Next week is click here for details and there are many activities in the south east – click here. If the weather calms down and warms up there might even be some insects to see!

22nd June 2012, Friday

Great British Insect Day

As part of National Insect Week, Great Dixter will host a Great British Insect Day on Saturday 30th June 2012, 10am-1pm. Three talks – see below. Places limited, so email to book… education@greatdixter.co.uk.
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21st June 2012, Thursday

Malachite beetle

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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.

20th June 2012, Wednesday

When is a bee not a bee?

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.
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Long-horned general on biting stonecrop

19th June 2012, Tuesday

Jaws

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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Broscus cephalotes
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12th June 2012, Tuesday

Compound eyes

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.

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12th June 2012, Tuesday

English Star

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No, not a footballer, but a small flowering plant that can be found on the dry crest of many of the old shingle ridges south of Camber Castle. English Stonecrop is a delightful plant, once you get down on your hands and knees.
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