Friday, 30 September 2016

Xanthandrus comtus at Newton-le-Willows station

I've been catching the train to Manchester from Newton-le-Willows station for most of the past week, and yesterday I noticed a lot of invert activity on a wall covered in flowering ivy. I took a few photos and it turns out that one of the hoverflies I captured, Xanthandrus comtus, is quite a rarity in Lancashire, with the total number of records ever in single figures. I also found another new hoverfly species for me, Meliscaeva auricollis.

Xanthandrus comtus. Recorded in Lancashire in single figures, this species is a mainly a southern species which becomes rarer in the north. Such records that there are in Lancashire are almost entirely coastal, lending weight to the suggestion that this is perhaps a migrant in the north. The larvae are often found in association with micro moths on ivy.

Xanthandrus comtus showing its distinctive pattern well.

Meliscaeva auricollis.

Syrphus ribesii.

Eristalis tenax.

Eristalis pertinax.

Helophilus pendulus.

Syritta pipiens.

Episyrphus balteatus, marmalade hoverfly.

Myathropa florea.

Lots of honey bees about today, many with large pollen sacks like this one.

Wasps were probably the commonest species on the ivy.

The tachnid Tachina fera.

There appeared to be a mass emergence of harlequin ladybirds, showing a wide range of patterns. I counted at least 50 adults and at least 200 pupa.

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