Friday, June 27, 2014

Bugs at Low Burnhall

Low Burnhall is a Woodland Trust reserve just south of Durham city, with new tree planting to link up fragments of ancient woodland. It will take a while to produce a continuous woodland canopy but in the meantime the existing woodland and large areas of open grassland are home to a wide range of interesting insects species.




































Our best find on this visit was this handsome wasp beetle, Clytus arietis, an amazing example of mimicry. It not only looks like a wasp, it moves like a wasp too, with the same jerky walk. No sting, perfectly harmless. Breeds in decaying wood - we found it close to the rotting fallen branches of an old willow.























Our visit coincided with the hatching of scores of five-spot burnet moths.



































Unhatched .....



































..... and hatched five-spot burnet cocoons















Newly emerged five-spot burnets mating



































Possibly the shortest courtship ever - these two five-spot burnets emerged simultaneously from the upper and lower cocoon and mated immediately






















There were plenty of newly-emerged ringlet butterflies around. They even fly in light rain.



































A very unlucky large skipper, caught by a spider. Maybe the two froghoppers will be luckier when they emerge from their cuckoo spit.



































The caterpillar of the Timothy tortrix moth Aphelia paleana, which feeds on a wide range of plants including docks and plantains, as well as Timothy grass. Thanks to Colin Duke for identifying this for me, via the excellent iSpot web site



































A capsid bug - I think this is the cock'sfoot bug Leptopterna dolobrata























A sawfly, which I think is a Tenthredo species , feeding on buttercup nectar
















Forest shieldbug, Pentatoma rufipes, on an oak leaf.




















Kentish snail Monacha cantiana, found inside a curled-up hogweed leaf. Thanks to Martyn John Bishop and Steve Gregory for identifying this for me, also via the excellent iSpot web site



14 comments:

  1. Great set of insects, the wasp beetle is stunning and love the colour of the Sawfly.
    And iSpot is so good, have started using it a lot .
    Amanda xx

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    1. iSpot is a wonderful resource isn't it. Interesting to see all the stuff that people are finding.

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  2. This is a great selection. I bet you were thrilled with this outing.

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    1. It was drizzling when we arrived so it was a pleasant surprise to find anything!

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  3. Superb pictures as always and what an interesting range of insects- very apt for national insect week :-)
    I use ispot too- such a great resource. Are the 5 spots the narrow version? I know regular 5 spots are uncommon here in Hants so would be interested to know.
    ps- cuckoo flower is doing really well and has thrown up several babies from the basal leaf, which are thriving- thank you for the tip and your help with growing them on.

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    1. Yes, it's the narrow version we have up here. Delighted to hear that cuckoo flower has done its stuff for you.

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  4. What a varied selection of species you found. I particularly like the sequence of the Burnet moths.

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    1. They're lovely aren't they? the are weak fliers, so easy to approach for a photo.

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  5. A good selection there Phil. Enjoyed listening to you on 4extra a few days ago.

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    1. I didn't know there was a programme on 4extra John, thanks for the tip-off; the beeb doesn't flag up repeats.

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    2. Phil: I can't remember which day it was on but it was in the 4p.m. slot - The Four O'Clock Show Could have been Monday as tomorrow has the last in the series of A Guide to Garden Wildlife. Wish it was on TV so we could see what is going on.

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    3. Thanks John! Will check it out.

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  6. Great photos as always. The five spot Burnett moths seem to be in a hurry!

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    1. they are weak fliers lotusleaf, so don't often stray far from the place where they hatched

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