Monday, 31 July 2017

Invertebrates, July 2017

July started slowly for me, and I was beginning to think that this months invertebrate round up would be pretty sparse, but a couple of weeks in Buckinghamshire mid-month followed by a week in the North West Highlands of Scotland near Ullapool retrieved the situation and I ended up with quite an impressive selection of inverts to show here.

Purple emperor Finmere Wood, Buckinghamshire, surely the star invertebrate of July? We also saw a second much brighter male in flight, it was quite spectacular but refused to land so I had to be content with this photograph of a slightly tatty looking individual.

Or perhaps this should be the star from July, Northern Emerald on the banks of Loch Maree, Ross-shire at Slattadale. Certainly Northern Emerald is a much more difficult species to find than purple emperor and Loch Maree is one of the most beautiful places in the UK in which to look for inverts!

White Admiral Finmere Wood.

This is large heath, a species confined to bogs in the north of the UK. This individual had me confused for a while, because although it was clearly much larger than small heath, it looked considerably different to the large heath I am familiar with in the English South Lakes, which has much more distinct underside eyespots. However, this is large heath of the race Coenonympha tilla scotica, which occurs in Scotland north of a line from Clyde to Aberdeen. In this subspecies the eyespots are either faint or not present at all. This was photographed on a blanket bog between Inverness and Ullapool in the North West Highlands.

Brown Argus Finmere Wood.

Comma Finmere Wood.

Silver-washed fritillary Finmere Wood.

Silver-washed fritillary Finmere Wood.

Silver-washed fritillary of the form valesina, Finmere Wood. I'm not sure if I've seen this form before, unfortunately this was the only photo I managed to get.

Speckled wood Finmere Wood.

Ringlet Finmere Wood.

Marbled white Finmere Wood.

Ruddy darter Finmere Wood.

Banded General Stratiomys potamida a soldierfly at Pennington Flash

Anasimyia contracta at Pennington Flash. A new hoverfly for me.

Chyrysotoxum bicinctum at Pennington Flash

Another hoverfly, Epistrophe grossulariae at Pennington Flash.

Phasia hemiptera a tachinid fly.This was at Wykeham Forest raptor watchpoint, North Yorkshire, but I also saw them at Finmere Wood.

When Ray and I found this at Wykeham Forest, I really thought we had found something good, though I couldn't think what! Clearly a hoverfly, but nothing like any I have seen before. It turns out that its just a Syrphus sp. with unusual markings, i.e. the central bands on the abdomen are quite thin and reddy orange. Apparently this is most likely because of the insects gut content, though if this is the case it must have effected more than this individual because we found several around the car park near the raptor watch point. A beautiful insect and a shame that it didn't turn out to be something new!

These are all Syrphus sp. hoverflies and you can really notice the difference between the unusual individual on the left and the other two. The stripes on the abdomen are not only a different colour, they are also thinner and a different shape. The insect on the left is also smaller and its abdomen is proportionally shorter than that of the typical Syrphus.

Chrysotoxum verralli, another new hoverfly for me from Aylesbury.

Chrysotoxum verralli

Chrysotoxum arcuatum at Slattadale, Loch Maree, Ross-shire. This is close to the edge of its range for this insect.

Syrphus ribesii doesn't often get a mention here because it is so common, but this female on yellow saxifrage at Knockan Cliffs in the North West Highlands seems worth a mention, if only because of the remoteness of the site and because it's the only photograph I have of any species on this particular plant! Actually, Syrphus ribesii is a beautiful insect in its own right.

Sericomyia silentis, probably the commonest hoverfly I saw in the North West Highlands in July. This was photographed at Knockan Cliff, but others were at Loch Maree and also Ben Wyvis.

This is also Sericomyia silentis, this individual photographed at Pennington Flash at the end of the month.

Deraeocoris ruber, a true bug from Pennington Flash.

Pisaura miribilis, nursery web spider at Pennington Flash.

A conopid fly  Conops quadrifasciatus from Pennington Flash.


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