Sunday, 30 June 2013

Dolichopus ungulatus

When out in the field on the 26th June 2013 I noticed a large number of flies around the wet mud left over by the ebbing tide. I decided to take one home and attempt to identify it. My conclusion was Dolichopus ungulatus:

On this occasion I already suspected Dolichopodidae as the Family so checked the wing venation to confirm this:
Dolichopodidae wing
My next task was to find the subgenus which I attempted using Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects Volume 9 Part 5. The checklist to drill down to species level from the book was as follows:

  • No antennal lunule separates from Cyclorrhapha and makes it Orthorrhapha
  • Antenna with less that 6 segments, closed anal cell or narrowed to wing margin, palpi erect not pendulus = Brachycera
  • Tarsi with 2 pulvilli (foot pads)
  • Discal vein not forked
  • No thumb like projection on the antennal segment two into segment 3 eliminating syntormon.
  • Acrostychal bristles present and biserial
  • 1st antennal segment hairy
  • Hind coxae with 1 bristle
  • Hairless arista
  • Hind metatarsus with 1 or more preapical bristle
  • Femora yellow or mainly yellow
  • Lower postocular cilia black
  • Middle tibia with 2 or more bristles
  • Middle and hind femore with 2-5 preapical bristles

Dolichopus ungulatus

Dolichopus ungulatus

Dolichopus ungulatus hind leg

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Sicus ferrugineus

This fly was very tame and allowed some very close photography just perched on a grass stem. Identification in this case was relatively straight forward. Eliminating Myopa species can be done on the shape of the face; Myopa having a facial extension below the eyes. Two species of Sicus occur in Britain with ferrugineus being the most common and abdominalis much rarer. The two can be told by the size and shape of the theca. When viewed laterally the thecca has little projection and looks more broader than tall whereas abdominalis has more projection and looks as tall as wide.

Sicus ferrugineus

Sicus ferrugineus

Neocoenorrhinus aequatus

This little weevil gave me no end of problems to identify. For starters the family was not in my beetle family key so I didn't stand much of a chance. Fortunately I was able to get it identified by an experienced coleopterist.

Neocoenorrhinus aequatus


Quite impressed with this tiny diptera this morning but disappointed not get better photos or a chance to pot it. Those eyes are huge! Too many similar looking beasts to get down to species level from what I can see. Netting near brambles is always tricky. Perhaps I'll try again tomorrow.


Armadillidium vulgare

Leave no stone unturned and you will come up with some goodies like the louse Armadillidium vulgare one of the famous 5. Not really looked into this genera before but with 35 species from 10 families they are worth paying some attention.

Armadillidium vulgare

Friday, 28 June 2013

Athaliini sawflies

This sawfly was photographed yesterday along the side of the road flying around at low level. Sadly it was only possible to identify it as Athalia sp. There are several Athalia sawflies on the British list:
  • Athalia ancilla
  • Athalia bicolor
  • Athalia circularis
  • Athalia cordata
  • Athalia cornubiae
  • Athalia liberta
  • Athalia lugens
  • Athalia rosae
  • Athalia scutellariae
Athalia sp sawfly

Philodromus spiders

I seen a number of crab spiders recently and decided to attempt to identify some to species level. There are seventeen species of Philodromus several of which are common and widespread. The spider in the picture below is a female with the epigyne in the inset. The closest match is P.cespitum but this is by no means conclusive.

Philodromus sp pos cespitum

Acrosathe annulata

I photographed this striking diptera yesterday unlike any I've seen this year. I thought it may be easy but there are several confusion species so keying out was necessary. Here's the process and a photo of the animal:

Wing venation keyed out with the cell between the discal cell and the hind wing margin closing.
Pale halteres, silver hairs including the face, first antennal segment as wide as the third all fit for Acrosathe.
Femur 2 without anteroventral bristles tells it apart from Acrosathe baltica

Acrosathe annulata

Acrosathe annulata

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Depressaria daucella

Still plenty of these around at the moment on Water Dropwort. The larvae have reduced many of the plants to just just stems eating first the flower heads and then moving on to the leaves. I've can't remember seeing the adult so may have to take some back for rearing.

Depressaria daucella

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Chloromyia formosa

I found this fly resting on a nettle leaf towards the end of my hunt around the patch. The wing venation looked quite different to many diptera I've seen since starting up 6 weeks ago so I decided to photograph and catch it. It turned out to be one of the Soldier flies in the Stratiomyidae group and as far as I can tell Chloromyia formosa. There is a confusion species Chloromyia speciosa which can be told apart by the colour of the tarsus.
Chloromyia formosa

Helophilus trivittatus, Cheddar Pink and more

A warm sunny day with plenty of insects on the wing. I was surprised to see Broad-bodied Chaser as I've not found them on the patch before. I photographed it at arms reach.
Helophilus trivittatus was next on the list as it nectared on Water Droptwort which still has many Depressaria daucella larvae. The abdominal markings and the plain yellow face should be enough to satisfy any sceptics. Anyway the photo is below. The Cassida rubiginosa needed keying out but the markings around the scutellum and the suture look consistent with this species. Whilst photographing a beetle I notice the grassbug Notostira elongata, an adult male which you might just be able to see the furrow in between the eyes but is present on an uncropped image. Next up were two new plants for the year: Common Centaury and Stinking Iris. The Centaury I have been watching for a while to come into flower and now they have the ID was made easy by googling "pink flower with yellow stamen". The Stinking Iris I've seen on the patch before. Later on I found even more new plants for the year: Cheddar Pink and Pyramidal Orchid. Whilst bug hunting a Whimbrel could be heard calling in the bay.

Helophilus trivittatus

Broad-bodied Chaser

Cassida rubiginosa

Harlequin Ladybird

Notostira elongata

Cheddar Pink

unidentified sawfly possible Macrophya annulata

This one is on the unidentified pile at the moment. I found a similar sawfly photo on the internet but need to eliminate any confusion species. I'll amend this post when I have more news but in the mean time I thought I'd publish the photo.
Unidentified Sawfly possible Macrophya annulata

Gooseberry Sawfly larvae

Yesterday I found a number of larvae on a small bush and immediately suspected it to be Sawfly larvae but couldn't get it to match. This morning I came across a photo of an identical larva which was ID'd as Gooseberry Sawfly Nematus ribesii. The leaf appears to be identical to Gooseberry too. I'm armed with a box and a pair of secateurs this morning and will attempt to rear some.

Gooseberry Sawfly larva

Gooseberry leaf Ribes uva-crispa

Monday, 24 June 2013

Beris vallata

I had trouble with this one but help was at hand from a friendly dipterist. I photographed this specimen on 14th June 2013 which fortunately shows the hind tibia which is mainly orange on Beris clavipes and half orange on vallata so I'm told. Even though this had been identified for me I still need to go through the identification process but don't expect to come up with a different answer.

Beris vallata

Zebra Spider Salticus scenicus

It took some time but managed my first female spider this evening. Salticus scenicus is one of two common jumping spiders the other being S.cingulatus. Separation is said to be possible by the arrangement of hairs on the abdomen but I couldn't work this out so decided to opt for the epigyne instead. This was more successful although took some time and a little plucking to be satisfied.

Salticus scenicus

Eristalinus sepulchralis

A new species of hoverfly for me this morning. The eyes gave it away as a new species. You can just about see the hairy part of the lower half of the eyes that separate it from Eristalinus aeneus

Eristalinus sepulchralis

Yarrow Plume Gilleria pallidactyla

I found an area with quite a bit of Yarrow three weeks ago and have been keeping an eye on it to see if I could find Yarrow Plume Gillmeria pallidactyla. On the 21st I was pleased to find this moth nearby. There is sufficient information on the photo to eliminate Gillmeria ochrodactyla which would struggle to find the food plant in the area because it doesn't exist.
Yarrow Plume Gilleria pallidactyla

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Spiraea x vanhouttei

An unusual shrub to find out in the wild but this one has been thriving for some time on the patch. ID has taken several days not only because of being non-native but also from the different types of Spiraea. So far it's been narrowed down to Spiraea x vanhouttei.

Spiraea x vanhouttei

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Aphidius parasitic wasps

A few days ago I found what looked like an obese aphid sat on a bramble leaf. Since then these odd looking things have become increasingly common with several on nettles yesterday. I found out that it was to do with parasitic wasps. Yesterday I caught a couple and attempted to make an identification. Keying out wasn't possible on all of the 29 species of parasitic wasp on aphids but I did find a match with Aphidius matricariae.

Parasitised Aphid

Aphidius sp possible matricariae

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Phalonidia affinitana and other moths

With an improvement on the weather it was time to get out with the moth trap last night. By day there had been some new additions with a lifer of Psychoides filicivora. Also new by day was Coleophora discordella and Phyllonorycter messaniella. By night the highlights were another lifer Phalonidia affinitana plus year ticks of White Colon, Monopis weaverella, Blastodacna hellerella, Flame, Middle-barred Minor, Pandemis cerasana and Clouded Bordered Brindle.
Coleophora discordella

Phalonidia affinitana

Psychoides filicivora

White Colon

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Hedge Woundwort and Shieldbug

Good fortune today when I found some Hedge Woundwort. This is a new plant for me and as luck would have it Woundwort Shieldbug's were found mating amongst the flower heads.

Woundwort Shieldbug

Hedge Woundwort

Ichneumon xanthorius

Pleased to find one of these today and pleased that I was able to identify it. Out of all the wildlife Ichneumon wasps are as difficult as any other species mainly because of the lack of information. However there is chunks of info on the internet here and there if you dig deep enough. This wasp was found at ground level and mainly sticking to grass heads and when disturbed would fly a short distance to another grass stem and climb up to the head.

Ichneumon xanthorius

Monday, 17 June 2013

Sea watching 15th June

A good morning sea watching on Sand Point produced c.200 Manx Shearwater, 2 Fulmar, 3 Gannet and a Pomarine Skua. One of the Fulmars came so close it went out of sight under the cliff.
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Sedge's and Broomrapes

I've been having a go at some of the flora on the patch and here are some of yesterdays finding:
Broad-leaved Willowherb

Common Broomrape

Crested Dog's-tail

False Fox Sedge

Glaucous Sedge

Lesser Spearwort or Sea Aster

Glaux maritima

Sunday, 9 June 2013

A new hoverfly Crysotoxum festivum 9th June

A cold north-easterly wind early morning made it feel less like summer although officially it's still meant to be a couple of weeks away yet. In Sand Bay 20 Black-headed Gulls, 12 Dunlin, 14 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel and 6 Curlew. At Sand Point Glanville Fritillary and Brown Argus on the wing. I found a new hoverfly today Chrysotoxum festivum which was very smart indeed. Also the first Bee Orchids out and the Foxgloves are coming into full flower in the bay.
Brown Argus

Glanville Fritillary

Issus coleoptratus

Chrysotoxum festivum