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!
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
Dragonfly wings are thin and light and have a corrugated-like structure. There are lots of tiny cells between numerous veins and cross veins, which together form a stiff, yet relatively … Continue Reading Dragonfly wings: tried and tested over millennia!
The upper wing surfaces of butterflies are often brightly coloured and visually highly apparent (above), whilst the undersides are usually fairly dull and inconspicuous (below). Although this characterisation is a … Continue Reading How to build a butterfly!
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 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
When I first came across this large spider, I wondered what it was doing with a piece of old leaf. Large Nephila spiders like this produce large asymmetric orb webs on … Continue Reading Leaf butterfly: caught in the net!
If you go to college (I studied Zoology) you learn a lot of exciting new words and phrases – things like parapatric speciation – very useful for impressing your friends at the … Continue Reading The Bath White: a parapatric species or a peripatetic pierid?
Many homopteran species, including aphids, have evolved mutualistic relationships with ants. Such symbiotic relationships are beneficial to both species and will endure as long as the costs do not outweigh … Continue Reading Ant-attended aphids
When we look at an organism, we see a host of different adaptations which have evolved to improve or enhance the fitness and survival of that species. One such trait … Continue Reading A trick of the tail!
Stabilmenta are conspicuous patterns or decorations made by spiders – particularly orb-web spiders – in their webs. Google ‘stabilmenta’ (singular: stabilmentum) and you will see many wonderful examples of these … Continue Reading Stabilmenta: spider’s web decorations
Males butterflies in the family Lycaenidae, the so-called Blues, typically have brightly coloured, iridescent colours on the upper (dorsal) surfaces of their wings. Vivid blue iridescence such as this on the … Continue Reading Bright iridescent patches are honest signals!
The Longbanded Silverline (Spindasis lohita), Family Lycaenidae, is a beautiful insect with a remarkable structure – a tail, or ‘false head’ – at the end of its hind wing. There is … Continue Reading Bluff and deception in Blues
There’s not an awful lot to say about Komodo dragons, other than the fact that they are a huge lizard – the biggest in the world – and give us … Continue Reading Dragons on the beach
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 … Continue Reading Watch out little butterfly!