Cromwell Bottom

Cromwell Bottom


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Monday, 27 October 2014

1906 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata Caterpilla

1906 Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata Caterpillar found 18th August 2014

Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata 1895

Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata 1885

Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata 1893

Not the easiest Caterpillar to identify but the prominent central raised region gives a good clue to its Identity it is a fresh early caterpillar more on the Development Sequence on This link  Click on the small image to expand

The larvae feed on a range of trees and bushes, including hawthorn (Crataegus) and blackthorn (Prunus spinosa).

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Autumnal Finds - Macro Work By Gordan Jackson

Another Good post by Gordon Jackson demonstrating Autumnal Finds still yet around 

Post by Gordon Jackson

On Sunday 12 Oct., there was a Feathered Thorn moth on our door. The next day, it had settled on the middle of the door step. I moved it to the Rockfoil in a jam jar for safety. It put it's antenna up for me, which I was pleased about, never having seen them before. They are very atractive but I wasn't able to take a photo.

Both sexes have a slightly hooked wing tip on the forewing and a slightly scalloped outer edge. They often have a unique whiteish spot near the tip, which is digagnostic.The cross lines maybe broken or incomplete but are usually conspicuous. Male comes to light, female less so. Common and well distributed, but only locally through Scotland. 
Flight season: Mid Sept. - early Dec.
Larvae food plant: A wide range of broodleaved trees.

 Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria)

Also by the door was a Crane Fly, I'm not sure which one this is.

Crane Fly (TBC)

On the opposite wall was a Vine Weevil. We had an infestation of the grubs in our heuchera plants this year, we almost lost them, but discovered the cause in time. The grubs eat the roots until the plant dies. We bought a systemic Vine Weevil poison, which seemes to have done the job. 
Most active: Adult weevils: spring to late summer; grubs: summer to spring.

Vine Weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus)

There was a Green Lacewing on the door. I've always liked the look of this insect, but it was shy and flew off when I got my camera near it, which was a shame.
It was a sunny morning, so I took my new camera  down Robber Dodge wood in Stainland. The new camera is a Lumix G5 this time, I wasn't happy with the Lumix GF5 for macro work, it didn't have a veiwfinder, for one thing, which was a big problem. The G5 is head and shoulders above the GF5. When both cameras came out, the G5 was several hundred pounds more than the GF. It is aimed at the more dedicated, serious photographer and has a much more intuitive menu system. The controls are (to me) more like a 35 mm camera and the grip is substantially bigger, making it easy to hold. So far I'm very pleased with it. 

The first thing drawing my attention was a lichen. It was growing on a dry-stone wall. I'm fairly certain it is Parmelia saxatilis. Parmelia sulcata is very similar, but much more rare, and often has little lobules on its lobes. The upper surface of the lobes of Parmelia saxatilis is covered with a network of white lines, clearly visible with a lens. Little stubby projections (isidia) form on the lines, making the surface look rough. This species was used to produce a purple-brown dye in the past.

Lichen - Parmelia saxatilis

Robber Dodge is in the main, a beech wood, with a small mix of things like oak, sycamore, dog rose, elder, a few firs, blackberry, nettle etc. I'd just taken a shot of a few beach leaves and was walking away, when a tiny insect caught my eye. Ingoring the antennae and wings, the body was about 2-3 mm long. I took a shot of it and it's quite pretty. I've included the shot of the leaves I saw it on, for scale. The insect above is on the middle leaf, right hand side and low down. I have no idea what it maybe, if someome knows, please post the info, thanks.

Insect on a beech leaf  
Sapling sycamore aphid (Drepanosiphum acerinu)

( Beech leaves with above insect on for scale)

Next is the so-called Artists Bracket fungi, because you can draw on the white part of it. This white part soon turns dark red-brown. It's a very widly distributed polypore bracket. It is 12–16 inches across, hard, woody-textured, and inedible. It's a common cause of decay and death of beech, poplar and several other trees. The midge, Agathomyia wankowiczii (Platypezidae) lays its eggs on the fruiting body of the fungus, forming galls. If you cut the fungi in half, you can count the layers to find out how old it is, in the same way you do with trees. Each layer is equal to one year.

Artists Bracket Fungi (Ganoderma applanatum)

The Common Dock (Rumex obtusifolius) caught my eye, there was a small clump of it which had been badly eaten by something. It's nice to know that things like moth larvae etc., don't just eat our garden plants. There were leaves which had been eaten so that only the leaf skeleton and outside edges were left but I wans't able to get a good photo of them. This will give you the idea though.

 Common Dock (Rumex obtusifolius)

It has been many years since I was able to get as far into Robber Dodge wood as I did that day. Last time I was there, the stream about half a mile above where I was sat on Sunday, had large clumps of King Cup, or Marsh Marigold - (Caltha palustris) growing in it. The plant has spread down-river at least as far as the stone bridge I was sat on. It has lovely, bright yellow, buttercup-like flowers, and is part of the Ranunculaceae family. It's thought to be one of the most ancient native plants, surviving the glaciations and flourishing after the last retreat of the ice. It can be bought from garden centers and plant suppliers. It prefers partial shade, will grow in ponds, flowering time is March to April and it is slow growing.
NOTE: All parts of the plant are poisonous and can be irritant. It can cause skin rashes and dermatitis when handled excessively. It is also known to kill cows sometimes and will grow on cow manure.

King Cup or Marsh Marigold - (Caltha palustris)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Garden Spider Araneus diadematus

Post Gordan Jackson

Well, it's been a quiet week for insects, for me at least. I found a very handsome Garden Spider showing me it's lovely markings this morning, it was too good an opportunity to miss.

Garden spiders vary in colour from pale yellowy-brown, to very dark brown, but they all have a characteristic white cross-shaped group of spots on their abdomen. The're common all over the UK, except for parts on northern Scotland. Look after them, they are another of the gardener's friends, eating many small insects, including aphids.

 Garden Spider showing markings

I took the shot below about two weeks ago. I thought it was worth posting to show a view many people never see. If ayone knows what the small pink hook like thing on it's abdomen, just below it's legs is, please post the information. Thank you.

Garden Spider showing leg arrangment.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Autumn Finds At Cromwell Bottom LNR by Gordon Jackson

Colin  and I went on a bug hunt round Cromwell Bottom on the 2nd. October. It was a mild and sunny day and very relaxing, even though I was being shown new Macro photography techniques. The photographs below are in a random order, not the order in which we found them. One or two of the photos are a little soft focus, but it seemed worth including them to show what is about at the moment. At the end of this post are four images not of bugs, two are fungi, the other two are for the love of nature.

 Harlequin Ladybird Lavae (Harmonia axyridis)

Hawthorn Shield Bug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale)

Hawthorn Shield Bug detail. 
Note the false eyes above the much smaller red, real ones. 
As with many insects, they serve as a protection against predators.

Birch Shield Bug (Elasmostethus interstinctus)
A smaller relative of the Hawthorn Shield Bug. 
The adults are very common in early Autumn.

Kentish Garden Snail. (Monacha cantiana)
This is an introduced species, wide spread over England, less so 
in Wales and Scotland. The young have hairy shells which rub off over time.

Caddisfly - To Be Confirmed  - Family Limnephilidae

Black Caddisfly -  To Be Confirmed

14 Spot Ladybird (Propylea 14-punctata

Leafhopper (Cercopida)
I should have taken a 
shot from the side as well.

 Ladybird Pupae - possibly Harlequin or 7 Spot

Stage V Hawthorn Nymph (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale)

Common Harvestman (Paroligolophus agrestis)

Possibly Blushing Bracket (Daedaleopsis confragosa)
The pink tinge on  parts of the fungi seem indicative, along with it's location by water.
I found this between the Hawthorn Arch and the lagoon.

To Be Confirmed. This fungi was under a 
Silver Birch sapling on the aproach to the car park.

The Hawthorn Arch
This and the image below, are a reminder of how 
lovely nature is when we stop to look around us.

A seed head after the seeds have gone. 
Even then it has a special beauty of it's own.

Sitona - A Grassland Weevil

Sitona lineatus

Size 3.4  -  5.3 mm


Likely lineatus but could be striatellus. Several Sitona appear very similar but lineatus will become obvious in the field; the elongate and parallel sided form and dull metallic colouration with paler longitudinal stripes are characteristic A Grassland Weevil Descriptions can be found on the links below
Can be found throughout the Year.. and are assoiated with fabaceae - Vetches Trefoils and Pea Family

Hostplants Include various clovers and vetches and the weevils are well known as pests of leguminous crops; 

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2240 Blair's Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri

Post  by Gordon Jackson   (reposted from FEET members Site )

This little beauty was sheltering on the wall by our door today. I must have walked past it 10 times before seeing it. The camouflage is wonderful, it stands out better in the photo than on the wall.

First first found in 1951 on the Isle of Wight, it arrived in Cumbria 1996, north Wales 1997 and Scotland by 2001. It's very common now and is found on the Isle of Man and Ireland. It's also established in the Channel Islands and is still spreading. The varient in this photo has the pink flush on the kidney mark.

It's flight is said to be October-November, so it's a little early, but then, the seasons are changing, which is influencing the flora and fauna. Foodplant: Three species of Cypress and sometimes Juniper.

 Blair's Shoulder-knot (Lithophane leautieri)

This is a first for me, like so  many at the moment. Thanks to Charlie for helping with the ID.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Scolopostethus thomsoni - A Lygid ground Bug

Scolopostethus thomsoni - A Lygid ground Bug 

Adult: All year

Length 3.5-4 mm

Found on Nettle  a Micropterous Lygid (Ground)  Bug  16 th July 2014

Brachyopterous - partially winged are small and presumed to be less effective in flight.

It would appear to be aprox 3.9 mm according to my lens calibration

It has a number of constistent features large black frontal pronotom brown marked posterior pronotom with narrow flange not overly visible on this image


The lateral flanks  of the pronotum have a large and obvious pale spot just behind the middle.It has  one large and several small spines on the Ventral side of the front femur. Generally but not necessarily reliably , the end of the 2nd antennal segment is dark, viz the 3rd and 4th segments. ie Tipped   Similar species include 
S. affinis, S. decoratus
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Scolopostethus thomsoni

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Autumnal Finds Cromwell Bottom LNR

A Quick Round on the Reserve today  revealed the following species active Images To Follow

Forest SB
Hawthorn SB Adult & Nymph
14 -Spot Ladybird
7- Spot Ladybird
Bryony with its notable translucent red berries
Hawthorn  Berries
Red Campion
Himalayan Balsam
Liocoris tripustulatus
Caddisfly x2 Species
Weevil Cionus sp
Black Spleenwort Canal
Yellow Oxalis Canal
Arrow Head  Canal
Flowering Rush Canal
Herb Robert
Meadow Sweet Seeding
Creeping Thistle (in leaf)
Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris
Syrphus Sp
Eristalis Sp

Sitonia possibly linaeatus -  A Weevil -
 Feeding on grassland legumes / vetches - Trefoils / various vetches 

Xysrticus sp

Araneus cornutus

Harvestman Paroligolophus agrestis