Today was spent on a hoverfly course in Mortimer Forest, on the Shropshire/Herefordshire border. The plan was to find hoverflies in a variety of habitats, with a session tomorrow to identifiy the species. The day was led by Nigel Jones, local diptera expert and all round entomologist.
It was a very hot day and hoverflies were in short supply. We did find several species though after much effort, and one of the more interesing species was this Eristalis intricarius. This large hoverfly is one of the furry bumblebee mimics, the only one of the Eristalis species to do this.
As always, there were plenty of other interesting insects to see. One of the bugs that we regularly found from sweeping the vegetation was this Grypocoris stysi. This is a widepsread bug, commonly found on nettles.
There was also this snail-killing fly Trypetoptera punctulata. This remarkable fly deposits its eggs near snails, and the larva emerge and eat the snail. Some members of this family have been used for biological snail control.
There was also this attractive crab spider Agelena labyrinthica. The bright green thorax is a sure means of identifying this species from others in the family of related spiders.
There were several micromoths found as well. My favourite was this fresh Crambus pascuella. This is one of several Crambidae that are found in grassy habitats.