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…

Painted ladies on tour – butterfly migration

One of the best known migratory butterflies, the painted lady, undertakes a yearly migration, along what is best described as a ‘continuously breeding migration path’ (Stefanescu. 2013). This annual, multi‐generational round‐trip is essentially a living wave of butterflies which flows north and south each year, with the seasons; in keeping with changes in food resources that follow a…

Beetles taking off!

These beautiful dung beetles are relatively common in NW Spain, and can often be seen flying purposefully through the pine forests, like tiny green helicopters, on a mission to find a cow pat or some horse droppings. They are a variety of Dor beetle,  (Trypocopris pyrenaeus var. coruscans), similar to a couple of Dumble Dor beetles…

Marsh Fritillaries, moos and meadows in Galicia, Spain

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, but strongly different ecological requirements (Casacci et al., 2015; Korb et al., 2016). These local, or regional populations have often specialised on, or adapted to,…