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.
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
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!
These delightfully coloured, red, yellow and black Delias species – such as the Red-spot Jezebel (Delias descombesi descombesi) (above) – are widely thought to be poisonous, or at least unpalatable, … Continue Reading Jezebels with gorgeous warning colours
I have come across these Argiope orb-web spiders, a number of times, with their characteristic woven crosses on their webs. These ones photographed in northern Thailand, are either the Multi-coloured … Continue Reading Argiope cross-weaving spiders; stabilmenta and tiny males
I was very pleased to come across this butterfly, the common birdwing, recently. Although it is fairly common, I had not had a chance to try and photograph it before. … Continue Reading Yellow peril! Aposematic colouration in Troides butterflies
When landlords turn the drunken beeOut of the foxglove’s door,When butterflies renounce their drams,I shall but drink the more! (Poem 51: ‘I taste a liquor never brewed’ quoted from The Selected … Continue Reading Drunken Admirals!