10 April 2020

first reward from the garden work

A number of insects have landed in front of me during the last few days causing a fair bit of eyebrow raising. The first of these was very interesting as the next group I wanted to work on when I had time was the Sawflies: Symphyta, waistless members of the Hymenoptera whose larvae are plant feeders. A shiny bronze metallic member of this group appeared atop the Cherry Laurel hedge allowing one photograph from a poor angle but enough to stimulate interest. I realised it was probably a member of the Cimbicidae because of its size and clubbed antennae. Fortunately I already had enough keys to get it to Genus Abia and a search of the interenet produced a set of online keys which showed me it was lonicerae named because the larvae feed on Honeysuckle Lonicera. A search of my Honeysuckle over the next couple of days revealed a couple of individuals who permitted better photos to be obtained. I felt relieved that, after strenuous efforts last year to remove Honesuckle which was spreading all over my garden and lawn, some survives in one corner which will now not be removed.
It may well be under recorded but a search of NBN gateway revealed a few scattered dots over much of the british isles. My experience of thinking I've found something new and interesting is often followed by revelations that it is simply under recorded or not yet mapped. I suggest, if you are interested and have some, you check out any Honeysuckle you can currently get at. There is another species of honeysuckle which may be rarer but is black and white....
As you can see here it looks as if this was a female trying to penetrate the leaves with her ovipositor unless I've got a lot more to learn than I think.

Another surprise this week turned up on my house wall. This is The Slender Groundhopper (Tetrix subulata) and lives in waterside areas. Interestingly I have only ever seen it's relative Cepero's Groundhoppr (Tetrix ceperoi) in the Swansea and Gower area and I have no idea why it should turn up on the side of a house in Tycoch.

On the wall inside the house was a Twenty Plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla), 

slightly less surprising and equal in number to an effort at moth trapping on a warm but clear night with winds coming from spain. The only reward in this case was a Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica).

A type of Blood Bee (Sphecodes sp.) also turned up on the wall but this will not be identifiable from a photograph as identification relies on microscopic features and is quite challenging.

These are cleptoparasites of solitary bees and there are currently 2 species flying in the garden told by size checking out Andrena and Lasioglossum nests in bare soil areas.
The final wall dwellers are common small spiders without english names I can find. The first is a 'Jumping Spider' Salticus scenicus, this is a male with big black chelicerae.

The second is also a male, Xysticus cristatus a type of 'Crab Spider'
The female was found in the rear lawn in bare areas
Please feel to comment if you disagree with my spider identifications as I am no expertise in this area and am happy to learn.


ian tew said...

No worries on the Sawfly, well worth looking for on Honeysuckle or Snowberry because according to the facebook sawfly group it is turning up all over the place this year. Without a specimen it is likely to remain as Abia lonicerae agg because detail not easily seen is needed to differentiate it from the other, rarer species.

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