Weaver’s Fritillary

It is rather ironic that this little butterfly, which was named by a 19th Century British entomologist, does not occur in the UK! Weaver’s fritillary (Boloria dia) occurs throughout mainland Europe, and is found just across the Channel in northern France (see distribution map, below). It is also called the Violet Fritillary, a name which…

Beautiful Cleopatra

The Cleopatra is not a butterfly we see in the UK although a few individuals have occasionally appeared in southern England, perhaps as a result of hitch-hiking on a passing ship! (1) It is not markedly different from the Brimstone until the male opens his wings during flight and reveals beautiful orange patches on the…

Pretty little Anthomyiid flies

I am very fond of these tiny little black and white flies, which go by the rather unattractive name of Root-maggot flies. Their Latin family name sounds a bit more appealing: Anthomyiidae. There ar… Source: Pretty little Anthomyiid flies

Pretty little Anthomyiid flies

I am very fond of these tiny little black and white flies, which go by the rather unattractive name of Root-maggot flies. Their Latin family name sounds a bit more appealing: Anthomyiidae. There are some agricultural pests in the family, like the cabbage root fly and the onion fly, which give the others a bad name.…

Tachina grossa – a big black fly!

The Yellow-faced fly or giant tachinid fly, Tachina grossa, is the largest European tachinid fly, between 1.5 and 2 cm in length. It is widespread in Europe, including the British Isles and is supposed to be a bumblebee mimic, but I am not sure which one it is copying. Probably an imperfect mimic of generally dark bumblebees.…

Knot bad for bees!

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a fast growing, invasive perennial with a terrible reputation for spreading and excluding other native plants. Its roots are also capable of breaking through concrete and other man-made materials (1). But it’s not all bad! It looks quite nice when it is flower, right now in September, and it’s good…

Watch out little butterfly!

A little butterfly skipping from flower to flower in the late afternoon sunshine. Enjoying little sips of nectar. Seemingly oblivious to the cares of this world. Yet there lurks a trap for this innocent little sprite. A spider has cast its net. Nature is not nice, or sweet. The innocent get consumed. Do the fittest…

Asian hornet in Galicia

At the end of last month (on 28th August) I sat on a hillside in Galicia, Spain, next to a beautiful bush of flowering bell heather, photographing the wasps which were gorging themselves on the pollen and nectar. They were covered in pollen (below). They were very calm and non-aggressive and I sat right next…