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
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
I came across these termites moving along a water pipe on the Gully Trail at Wat Tham Pha Plong, Doi Chiang Dao, northern Thailand. The pipes provide water for the … Continue Reading Termites on a trail
The peculiar shape of this nest entrance caught my eye. Bees were moving in and out of the trumpet-shaped nest which was located below a large dipterocarp tree, at the … Continue Reading Stingless bees and resin bugs
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
I am very fond of these tiny little black and white flies, which go by the rather unattractive name of Root-maggot flies. Their Latin family name sounds a bit more … Continue Reading Pretty little Anthomyiid flies
The Yellow-faced fly or giant tachinid fly, Tachina grossa, is the largest European tachinid fly, between 1.5 and 2 cm in length. It is widespread in Europe, including the British Isles and … Continue Reading Tachina grossa – a big black fly!
I came across this magnificent insect walking along a path through some pine woodland, with an under-story of heather and gorse, in Galicia, NW Spain. It is The Saddle-backed Bush-cricket. … Continue Reading Saddle-backed Bush-cricket
Since it’s Bees Needs week, I thought that I would put together a blog about bees using photographs I have taken recently in Scarborough and Spain. Taking photographs of bees … Continue Reading Bees knees and tongues!