Tibial spurs are an ancient feature, found on most insects, from bees to moths, although in some species they have been lost or modified over evolutionary time to suit the … Continue Reading Insect tibial spurs: a highly versatile tool!
The subject of reduced or modified forelegs in butterflies might strike some people as being rather obscure, but it is – as I hope to demonstrate – a fascinating tale … Continue Reading Forelegs and four legs in butterflies!
Phoresy, which is also called phoresis, is an association between two organisms, where one travels on the body of another, without being a parasite or causing it any harm. In … Continue Reading Phoresy: mites hitchhiking on burying beetles
It’s a wonder we all don’t meet up on the top of hills or mountains! It’s such a great way of finding someone: just keep going up until you get … Continue Reading Love in high place: hilltopping butterflies
Some people may have seen the image of a fruit fly brain published last month (January 2020), by C. Shan Xu, and a large number of coworkers, and picked up … Continue Reading The tiny brain of a fly!
Harvestmen, or harvest-spiders, are invertebrates in the order Opiliones. The very long-legged ones are sometimes called Daddy longlegs, but this common term is also used for crane flies, so its … Continue Reading Harvestmen – highly successful invertebrates with an ancient lineage
Marsh fritillaries, Euphydryas aurinia (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), are one of my favourite butterflies. The beautiful tapestry of yellow, orange and black colours on their wings creates a stunningly attractive pattern, especially … Continue Reading Love is a carousel: courting Marsh fritillaries!
Ocelli (singular: ocellus) are simple eyes and are found on many different kinds of insects (such as bees, wasps, flies and dragonflies) and spiders. In adult insects, like the beautiful … Continue Reading Look into my ocelli! Simple eyes.
Finding a publisher This was my first book and I was very pleased to get offered a contract by CABI Publishing. I initially approached a well-known (Oxbridge!) University Press, but … Continue Reading Lessons learnt in writing a book (on Courtship and mating in butterflies)
Capturing animal behaviour in a photograph (or even a video) is never easy. The wonderful natural history programmes we see on television, have often taken the film-makers months, if not … Continue Reading Capturing butterfly behaviour in the field
Last year I came across these beautiful Indian purple emperors (Mimathyma ambica) at the, now famous site, for viewing mud puddling butterflies in northern Thailand. There is something about the … Continue Reading Iridescent emperor butterflies
We are all phenotypes! A phenotype is what is produced by the interaction of our genetic code (genotype) with the environment. That is, the environment in the fullest sense of … Continue Reading We are all phenotypes! butterflies included😂.
The Chocolate albatross (Appias lyncida) is a fairly common butterfly in Asia, which can be found from Sri Lanka to Borneo. There are a number of different subspecies across this … Continue Reading A lovely chocolate and yellow butterfly!
Coneheads (Conocephalinae) are not particularly common in the UK – there are three species in southern England – but head south, and they start to get much more abundant. In … Continue Reading Crunchy coneheads: edible insects
I was very pleased to come across a large group of Tawny Coster (Acraea terpsicore) butterflies when I was in Thailand last October. They were very active, and although I … Continue Reading Lock up your ladies! The Tawny Coster butterfly.
On a recent trip to northern Thailand (Chiang Dao) I came across these strange tubes coming out of the bottom of a tree. I knew at once that they were … Continue Reading Stingless bees: fascinating little builders!