Monday, 27 July 2015

Office visitor

There was a vistor in the office this afternoon. I found this micromoth Mompha propinquella on the wall under my office window. It is quite a common species, and one I recorded a couple of years ago in the garden moth trap. The larvae feed on willowherb (Epilobium), several species of which grow around Batch Valley.

Mompha propinquella

I had an early start this morning, so managed to finish work a little early and had a wander around the garden to do a bit of entomologising, and there were quite a few interesting insects to be found. This Pied Hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri was perched quite contently and allowed a close appraoch. This is an amazing hoverfly, as every year this species migrates from mainland Europe to the UK. It is likely that few manage to survive the winter, so this annual influx maintains the breeding population.

Pied Hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri

The Golden Marjoram Origanum vulgare 'Aureum' is now coming into flower, and this is a fabulous plant for pollinators, one of the best in late summer in the garden. On it this afternoon was this lovely Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas, a beautiful little butterfly that is quite common in our garden. This is possibly because of the large amount of Sheep's Sorrel Rumex acetosella, the larval foodplant, which grows abundantly in our garden and on the Long Mynd.

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas

What is certainly a new species for the garden is this small bee, which I first saw on Saturday afternoon. It has been using the cultivated knapweed (Centaurea), and was on these plants again today.

Epeolus cruciger

On closer examination in my spi-pot (an essential piece of entomological equipment made out of plastic pipe and cling-film), this appears to be Epeolus cruciger. A cleptoparasite of a couple of Colletes bee species, this is typically found on heathland and grassland, but is very scarce in Shropshire and only known from a few localities. This is a male, which is more difficult than the female to seperate from its close relative E. variegatus. The reddish pygidium, as opposed to blackish, is one of the key features.

Epeolus cruciger

There was also a bit of a mystery, with this bug nymph found on the wall of my house. I am not certain of the species, but it may be Corizus hyoscyami, a beautiful red and black bug. I will be on the lookout in the next few weeks to see if I am (hopefully) right!

Possible Corizus hyoscyami nymph

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