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…

Sand-hoppers playing possum

The European sand flea or sand-hopper, Talitrus saltator (Montagu, 1808) is an amphipod crustacean (Family Talitridae; Order Amphipoda) which lives on sandy shores from Norway to the Mediterranean. Most people have probably seen them hopping about on the beach, especially in the zone of wet sand created as waves go out or the tide falls. Their typical…

Asian hornets in Galicia

Last year (8th Sept 2016) I reported on sightings of large numbers of Asian hornets (Vespa velutina Lepeletier, 1836) feeding on flowering bell heather in late August, in Galicia in NW Spain. (1) This year I came across large numbers feeding on Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) flowers in mid-August; a flower which is exceedingly abundant along, or near the coasts…

Rock (and roll!) Grayling

The great Dutch biologist Niko Tinbergen, first described the highly stereotypic courtship behaviour of the Grayling, Hipparchia semele (Linnaeus 1758), a butterfly which was common on a dune area in the center of the Netherlands, Hulshorst sands – on the shores of the Zuider Zee – where he was carrying out research on digger wasps. The complex…

An iridescent dung beetle from Spain

I have written about this beetle before (1), but it is so beautiful I thought that it would be worth posting a few more photographs which I took this summer. It is a large (about an inch in old money) dor beetle, found in north-west regions of the Iberian Peninsula. It is relatively common on…