Spiders and mites on gorse

Gorse is beautiful plant, although best viewed from a distance, rather than walked through, as it is incredibly spiny and prickly. The sharp spines are, however, a tremendous advantage if you are small enough to live within their protection. It is also a plant that is remarkably variable in terms of its flowering period and…

Gerrids bearing water mites

If anyone is looking for a new hobby, I can thoroughly recommend gerrid-watching! It might not be as popular as bird or butterfly watching, but observing the movements and behaviour of Gerridae – commonly known as pond skaters or water striders – is a fascinating and rewarding pastime! These amazing bugs – yes they are…

Beetle and mite team

Flip over one of these beautiful dung beetles – which are found in northern Spain – and more often than not you will see a bunch of tiny mites – hangers-on! – on the shiny blue underside. These hitch-hikers are called phoretic mites. Phoresy, or phoresis, is the transport of one animal via another; but for…

Decomposition of a mole

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 died, as the first wave of colonisation – by  blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) – was only just in progress. Green bottle flies (probably Lucilia sericata) were already…