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!
In 1988, it was discovered that the Wood White butterfly (Leptidea sinapis (Linnaeus, 1758)) was actually two species, largely overlapping in their habitats, but virtually identical and only distinguishable by … Continue Reading Wood Whites go A-Courting!
It used to be thought that butterflies could not hear; that they were deaf. Well I suppose it is understandable, as they do not have ears sticking out from their … Continue Reading “Did you hear that?” Said the butterfly.
It is said that 50% of wild butterflies are killed and eaten before they get a chance to mate and reproduce (1). Poor things! One way to avoid being eaten … Continue Reading Peck me here! Butterfly predation.
The caterpillars of this species – the Spurge Hawk-moth (Hyles euphorbiae) – are highly variable and there are many different subspecies; some of which are now regarded as separate species (1, 2). … Continue Reading A complex caterpillar!
Take a photograph of a flower, examine it closely – or enlarge it on a computer screen – and you will invariably find an insect lurking somewhere in the picture. … Continue Reading Flowers and insects: an ancient alliance
An enormous amount of work has been carried out over the years to try to understand the genetics of this little snail; the brown-lipped banded snail (Cepaea nemoralis). It has … Continue Reading Citizen snail