An unreliable memoir

Posts tagged “insects

Winter Colours

Chrysoperla carnea

The green lacewings are quite difficult to tell apart. Fortunately, Chrysoperla carnea still in its subdued winter colours is reasonably easy to spot (much harder later in the year when it’s green like all the others), especially if you get close enough to see the hairy veins on the wings.

Chrysoperla carnea

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The Centipede In The Bath

Lithobius melanops

Lithobius melanops.
Nikon D7200 Tokina 100mm f16 1/250 ISO 100


An appeal on behalf of the Varied Carpet Beetle

Varied Carpet Beetle

The Varied Carpet Beetle Anthrenus verbasci, is experiencing a tough time. While in former years its famous “Woolly Bear” larvae munched their way through your winter woolies and Axminsters, now they can only blunt their mandibles on your acrylic Christmas jumpers and your polypropylene shag pile. The Varied Carpet Beetle Trust is asking everyone to put out small piles of wool in quiet corners of your home to encourage the Varied Carpet Beetle to breed. Even better, all home owners could consider buying a sheep – when they’re not providing a much needed banquet for your beetles they are also handy footstools and waste disposal units – and as a bonus they’ll give you a useful source of manure for your houseplants.

So please, give generously this April 1st and do everything you can to support the Varied Carpet Beetle.


Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures

Focus stacking – the ideal occupation for a rainy day. Over the last year I’ve spent more and more time taking photographs of smaller and smaller objects. The problem with this is physics – when a lens magnifies an image so that it becomes larger than life-size (i.e. macro photography), the depth of field decreases. Focus stacking gets round that issue, but requires a set of well-aligned images, and for me that’s an issue because the creatures I like to photograph tend to fly away when you poke a lens in their eye. But not this 4mm long insect, sadly deceased on my windowsill when I opened the curtains this morning – the ideal object for stacking (from my perspective, not his)! I haven’t identified this one yet, beyond the fact that it’s a Myrid bug, but that’s another guilty pleasure – spending hours with dichotomous keys figuring out a Latin name. Rainy days? Bring ’em on.

Update: it’s a Birch Catkin Bug – Kleidocerys resedae.


Off the mark

Brimstone Butterfly

I’m relieved to finally get my butterfly season off the mark with a Brimstone and a Peacock today. I feel I’ve been letting the side down!

Brimstone Butterfly, Gonepteryx rhamni


Hairy-footed Flower Bee

Hairy-footed Flower Bee

Bees are still in short supply around these parts, so in a brief sunny interval I was pleased to record my first bumblebee of the year. As usual around here, it’s the Hairy-footed Flower Bee Anthophora plumipes that puts in the first appearance.


An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles

Common Blackclock Beetle

In an attempt to become more god-like, I am cultivating an inordinate fondness for beetles. They’re not the easiest insects to photograph, and in fact, this whole god thing is hard work – you only get one day a week off.

The Black Clock Beetle is a large (15-20 mm) shiny black ground beetle which is predatory on many ground-living invertebrates, but the adults also eat some plant material.

Black Clock Beetle, Pterostichus madidus.


Hidden Worlds

Hidden Worlds

I’ve spent all morning turning over logs (and then carefully replacing them) in a Leicestershire bog so I could photograph and record the hidden worlds down there. This Painted Woodlouse is the brightest coloured individual I have ever seen – normally they only have coloured patches. Glory under a log.

Common Striped Woodlouse, Philoscia muscorum.


A Hedgehog

Hedgehog Springtail

Hedgehog Springtail, Orchesella villosa.

A fairly big species, nearly 5mm long. Hairy little fellow.