Mating Gatekeepers

It is not unusual to come across mating butterflies, although sometimes copulation takes place well away from where they normally feed or defend territories: for example, in the tree tops or deep in the undergrowth. Mating is risky; copulating pairs are usually relatively inactive and therefore vulnerable to attack by predators. The scientific term for…

Asian hornets in Galicia

Last year (8th Sept 2016) I reported on sightings of large numbers of Asian hornets (Vespa velutina Lepeletier, 1836) feeding on flowering bell heather in late August, in Galicia in NW Spain. (1) This year I came across large numbers feeding on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) flowers in mid-August; a flower which is exceedingly abundant along, or near the coasts…

Rock (and roll!) Grayling

The great Dutch biologist Niko Tinbergen, first described the highly stereotypic courtship behaviour of the Grayling, Hipparchia semele (Linnaeus 1758), a butterfly which was common on a dune area in the center of the Netherlands, Hulshorst sands – on the shores of the Zuider Zee – where he was carrying out research on digger wasps. The complex…