Anyone who has ever sat and watched dragonflies flying over a pond; turning back and forth and darting up to investigate an intruder, will not be surprised to learn that … Continue Reading Dragonfly eyes
Many people will be familiar with the sight of dragonflies (and damselflies) ‘in tandem’, without knowing exactly what is going on! I came across a pair of mating green marsh … Continue Reading Green marsh hawks mating
The Marsh Fritillary butterfly, Euphydryas aurinia, is distributed right across the Palaearctic region – from Ireland to Russia. It is a species complex, divided into mostly distinct taxa or subspecies, with slightly different appearances, … Continue Reading Marsh Fritillaries, moos and meadows in Galicia, Spain
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
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
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
This striking object is the cast skin of a cicada nymph. It sits on a fern, discarded. A testament to a life spent underground; large fossorial fore-legs, adapted to … Continue Reading Emergence and rebirth: the life of a cicada
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!
Reduvid bugs (Reduvioidea) – of which there are more than 7,000 named species – have evolved a diverse range of structural and behavioral adaptations to enable them to capture prey (4), … Continue Reading Resin bugs: walking sticky traps
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?
We are in the middle of The big butterfly count which is a nationwide survey run by Butterfly Conservation, Friday 14 July to Sunday 6 August, to assess the status of the nation’s butterflies … Continue Reading Common but extremely beautiful: The small tortoiseshell
I came across a dead mole as I was walking along a logging tract in a pine forest in Galicia, northern Spain. It looked as though it had only just … Continue Reading Decomposition of a mole
When damselflies mate, the male grasps the female by the front end of her thorax (the pronotum); but only if she is willing! Accepting his advance is not compulsory according … Continue Reading Mating Common Blue Damselflies
These remarkable flies, known as Thick-headed Flies (Conopidae), are larval parasitoids of bees and wasps. Females of this species, Conops quadrifasciatus, attack bumblebees in flight, which has earned them the name ‘bee-grabbers’. Apparently, … Continue Reading Canoodling bee-grabbers