25 August 2015

A real long-winged conehead.....

A real long-winged conehead - even if it has short wings! Following on from the last-but-one posting (which actually is of a short-winged conehead, in spite of its long wings), I include a photo of an early instar long-winged conehead, an individual at a brownfield site at Burry Port, Carmarthenshire on 25th July this year ( a new county record).
Note the virtually straight ovipositor, which differentiates females of that species from the short-winged conehead, even when the long-winged conehead is young and has n`t developed the long wings of the adult. The ovipositor in the short-winged conehead is markedly curved.
So, we have the almost absurd and confusing scenario whereby the previous conehead posted on the Gower Wildlife blog is really a short-winged conehead (albeit the macropterous form with long wings) and the individual below, is an early instar long-winged conehead, which has n`t developed its long wings yet! It`s easy to get confused in these circumstances - indeed, I`d assumed that my Burry Port conehead was a short-winged (a species that is frequent on the Carmarthenshire coast) until it was pointed out to me that the ovipositor was straight - so, no need for any embarrassment!
It is certainly worth looking out for long-winged coneheads in the Swansea area (as they`re likely to be around if they`ve already arrived in SE Carmarthenshire) and remember: the straight versus curved ovipositor is the easiest way to tell them (females only) apart.

Above: a young female long-winged conehead.

17 August 2015

360 cafe

A patch of Rock Samphire next to the 360 Cafe on Swansea seafront was covered in hoverflies today; lots of Scaeva pyrastri and 1 S. selenitica, but best was the very striking Dune-fly Villa modesta, a species of short-tongued bee-fly.

14 August 2015

Long-winged Conehead spreading west

(c) Alannah Ruthen
Alannah Ruthen photographed this female Long-winged Conehead Conocephalus discolor [see comments] at Craig-cefn-parc earlier this week. Although the species has been present in the county since 1999, when Rob & Linda Nottage recorded it at Coryton in Cardiff, this is the first record I'm aware of here in West Glamorgan. Please do look out for this species and please report any sightings, preferably with a photograph. It prefers drier habitats than the similar Short-winged Conehead C. dorsalis, this being well established in coastal marshes.