I had the pleasure of coming across two large fly species in Spain this summer, both of which are thought to mimic the European hornet (Vespa crabro). They are both large and … Continue Reading Two hornet mimics and a new model!
Whilst I was taking photographs of these beautiful Brimstone butterflies (Gonepteryx rhamni) nectaring on the little pink flower-pots of Bell heather (Erica cinerea), I noticed that they stopped when a … Continue Reading Brimstones in the sun: thermoregulation
This is the story of a little grasshopper that landed in a spider’s web. I am sad to say, dear readers, that it jumped into the spider’s web to avoid … Continue Reading Grasshopper jumps and lands in a spider’s web!
When I first saw this pair of Wood white butterflies in Spain, I did not realise that they were mating, i.e. in copula, as they were at right angles to each … Continue Reading Courtship and Mating in Wood Whites
Damselflies in the genus Mnais are unusual in having two types of males: i) orange-winged morphs and ii) clear or glassy- winged (hyaline) forms which look like the females. The orange-winged morphs … Continue Reading Mnais damselflies: fighters and sneaks!
Conventional wisdom has it that the ‘tails’ seen at the end of the hindwings of many butterflies, particularly lycaenids (the ‘blues’), are serving to mimic antennae, and together with eyespots … Continue Reading False heads and fluffy tails!
Butterfly wings can serve a variety of different functions, enabling them to fly, hide, startle and fool predators, warm up, identify each other, and last but not least, choose mates. … Continue Reading Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary: What’s in a spot?
Tiger beetles (Cicindelinae) are strikingly beautiful predatory insects which come in a bewildering variety of stunning colours: iridescent, metallic greens, reds, blues and so on. Researchers have speculated about the function of … Continue Reading Tiger beetles: colour for a purpose
The Silver Y moth, Autographa gamma (Linnaeus) is an immigrant to the UK, coming here to feed, breed and fly away again each year. It rarely stays over winter; it’s … Continue Reading EU migrants: Influx of Silver Y moths
Most of us can tell a bee from a fly, can’t we? We all have an idea about what each of them looks like: a fly is small and shiny; … Continue Reading Polymorphic mimics: flies that look like bumblebees
The thick-legged flower beetle, Oedemera nobilis (Family Oedemeridae), is a common pollen-feeding beetle found in flower heads during the spring and summer. They occur throughout western and southern Europe. I took these … Continue Reading Fat-legged beetle
Water striders are not the easiest insects to photograph; they zip about on the surface of the water so a fast shutter speed is required. If you try hard enough, … Continue Reading Water striders – at home on the surface
The Eastern honey bee, or Asian honey bee (Apis cerana), is endemic to much of Asia where has been cultivated for honey production for millenia. It is fairly similar to … Continue Reading Asian honey bees on Calla lilies
It was a hot day in northern Thailand when spotted an attractive Red Lacewing butterfly and started following it, hoping it would settle down so that I could get some … Continue Reading Fighting over a dead frog!
The Common Blue is a gorgeous little butterfly. Although the bright blue male is flashy and showy, it’s the female I like best, with her subtle variations of blue and … Continue Reading Common Blues – female colour variation
The butterfly proboscis (plural: proboscides) is an exquisitely evolved instrument for exploiting sources of nectar at the base of flowers. In fact it has evolved in concert – co-evolution – with … Continue Reading The butterfly proboscis – sucking tube and mopping sponge