A Golden Y, and Bugs and Spiders Galore

To get to Allen hide B and I had a short stroll along the edge of a meadow. The path was lined with tall grass and nettles. Maybe it was his height, maybe his 20/20 vision or maybe B is just more observant than me, but I have never seen such a variety of insect life as I did on this occasion with B pointing them out. There were bugs, beetles, spiders and flies in every shape and colour you could want.

Some of them we’ve tentatively managed to identify. Others are a mystery.

A soldier beetle?

Maybe a soldier beetle – possibly Cantharis pellucida

A snipe fly? (The downlooker fly) 

Perhaps a snipe fly, also known as the down-looker-fly because of this typical head down perch. It darts from its perch to snatch other insects in mid-air.

An acrobatic ladybird

A seven spot ladybird making a delicate transition between grass blades.

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I’ve drawn a blank on this one.

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This too.

Cardinal beetle

Cardinal beetle – Pyrochroa serraticornis

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Another as yet unidentified..

Click beetle

Click beetle – probably Athous haemorrhoidalis (no I’m not making that last bit up, nor do I know why). Click beetle because of the loud click they make when they jump.

Weevil 

Weevil – Phyllobius pomaceus . “The scales clothing this weevil can be golden green or bluish green. Abundant on stinging nettles, where the larvae feed on the roots.

We saw no end of these – they were indeed ‘abundant on stinging nettles’.

Mating weevils 

Look Dad, here’s two which are mating.”

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No idea.

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 Keine ahnung. (Rather dapper I thought.)

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 A yellow dung fly?

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We saw lots of these: nettle leaves apparently partially eaten and rolled with a web inside.

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B suggested that some sort of spider might be the culprit. Since then, I’ve discovered that there are species of saw-flies and of weevils which roll leaves up. But at present, my favourite candidate is the caterpillar of the nettle tap moth. “The larvae usually spin a web on the upper surface of the nettle leaf which draws the leaf into a folded shelter”. (Source)

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Spiders, I’m afraid, are even more of a mystery then insects.

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But with so many bugs about, the spiders were out in force too.

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One of the weevils we saw looked to be seconds away from becoming dinner.

I think that this…

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…is a wolf spider, carrying a silken egg-sac full of her young behind her. It looks like she has dinner already in hand.

As does this, mainly hidden, spider…

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Finally, even with B’s keen eye, we walked past this….

Golden Y

….from a distance it was very convincingly disguised as a dead leaf.

Up close, it’s stunning.

Golden Y II

I think, that it’s a beautiful golden y, Autographa pulchrina. But it could be a plain golden y. Autographa jota. Even after consulting this superb online identification guide I’m not 100% confident.

The prize for identification goes to B however. After our walk, and a hurried tea, I went out again (to help put up bunting through the village for the jubilee, ardent monarchist that I am), but I left B with my field guide hoping that he would enjoy browsing through it. When I cam home, he had written on the blackboard we have on our kitchen wall….

Tenthredo livida

It’s a sawfly. A rather striking, mostly black fly with white tips to its antennae and apparently a bulbous white nose (although that’s actually white around it’s mouth). I’d taken several photos, but sadly none came out too well. I’d also flicked through the book, but without B;s success.

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A Golden Y, and Bugs and Spiders Galore

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