Cylindroiulus punctatus (Leach, 1815) 4 images here portaying this millipede. Growing up to a length of 25 mm (1 in), it has rows of dark spots along its sides. It spends part of its life cycle living in leaf litter, and the rest in rotting wood. Feeding on dead plant matter, it helps with recycling… Read More Blunt-tailed Snake Millipede
This was quite a pleasant surprise. I have been seeing frogs in the garden all year, and this was my first toad this morning. It was only a young one, but beautifully coloured, perched almost on the edge of one of my planters. Double-click to zoom in closer.
Striped Millipede Ommatoiulus sabulosus This is one of Britain’s largest millipedes, and it has to be one of it’s most attractive. Growing up to around 30 mm (1 3/16 in) long, it is very well marked and unmistakable with 2 conspicuous deep orange stripes running the entire length of the body. I discovered it under… Read More Got Its Stripes
I caught this one on my back decking peering in through my patio window before it decided to jump on top of the fence.
Oniscus asellus – This is one of the largest native woodlice to be found in the British Isles. It is fairly flat and shiny, marbled greyish-brown in colour with pale markings. One of the ‘famous 5’ very common British species most likely to be seen.
Enoplognatha ovata – This spider comes in 3 flavors … well not quite flavours but forms or ‘morphs’. Not quite faces either, but opisthosomas or abdomens. Form lineata is creamy-yellow with black dots, form redimita is also creamy-yellow but with two broad red stripes and lines of black dots, and finally form ovata has a… Read More 3 Faces of The Candy-striped Spider
White-lipped Snail (Cepaea hortensis) – Storm Francis is battering us here in the UK, and after the rain had stopped and with the sun coming out briefly, I popped outside and came across this little one on the side of my planter. Not everyones favourite, I know, but they have a beauty of their very… Read More Riding The Storm
Life can be downright strange at times, full of odd coincidences and weird synchronicities. Well early this morning I was revamping one of my spider pages on this site which happened to be Platnickina tincta, and then a couple of hours later there was a knock on the door and a delivery driver with a… Read More A Surprise Arrival
Common Earwig (Forficula auricularia) – The title is not a misspelling, but it is from Old English meaning ‘one that wiggles in your ear’. These slender insects do love to crawl into small dark crevices, so somebody sleeping on the ground may indeed have the unpleasant occasion to have one wiggle in one’s ear, but… Read More Ear Wicga
Daddy Long-legs Spider Pholcus phalangioides I always have these in the sheds, and garage, and they will also appear in the house. I leave them be in the sheds beacause they are not hurting anyone there or causing any bother, but in the house they have to go outside. If you do see one of… Read More Something Alien
3 in 1 – not an oil, but what looks like a juvenile Isotomurus sp. of springtail on the left, a juvenile Common Rough Woodlouse (Porcellio scaber) on the right, and an unidentified tiny snail just off centre. All in the space of a about one 3rd of your little pinky nail.
I keep some pieces of tree bark in an area of the garden, along with a few branches, which help to give shelter to animals. Occasionally I peer underneath. I know these slimy critters aren’t to everybodies taste, but they all play their role in keeping nature’s balance, and are little wonders in themselves. The… Read More Under The Bark
Rhyzobius chrysomeloides – Yes, believe it or not, not al ladybirds are brightly coloured and have spots, some can be quite inconspicuous like this one. It is small, very small, at 2.5-3.5 mm (about 1/8 in) long. It is a fairly recent discovery, first found in Britain as recently as 1996, on a pine tree… Read More Round-keeled Ladybird
Around teatime today around a dozen Goldfinches flocked around my bird feeder, something I have never seen before, as I normally get 2 or 3 of them visit. This young one decided to have a look at my pond and came face-to-stony-face with this fellow. In the end it must have thought all was okay… Read More Not Sure About This Guy?
Large Rose Sawfly (Arge pagana) If you check your roses now you might find these gregariously chomping away on the leaves. It is possibly one of 2 species of sawfly Arge pagana or Arge ochropus, and it is hard to tell which in the early instar stage. But if you can find the original egg… Read More Check Your Roses
Wood-carving Leafcutter Bee (Megachile ligniseca) – I adapted an old bird box into a bee hotel about a year ago, and I am quite pleased we are now taking in guests. And I am very pleased to see this species, which is fairly uncommon, with only 2 sightings recorded in South Staffordshire. It typically nests… Read More At The Bee Hotel
Simocephalus vetulus – I really needed a microscope to capture this very peculiar freshwater life form, so apologies in advance as this is not as clear as some of my other images, as I was really trying to attempt the impossile with a camera, and handheld to add. But I wanted to show you something… Read More Microscopic Life
Myrmica ruginodis – This is species of one of the red ants you may find nesting in your garden. This is a winged queen. It nests in the ground, in tufts of grass, under stones and in rotten wood. Colonies are usually polygynous with an average of 15 queens and a thousand workers or more.
I have now photographed and uploaded 500 different species of insect to this site. Try to take in these facts about insects, they are quite astounding to comprehend: There are more than 200 million insects for every human being living on the planet. There are between 1 and 10 quintillion (can you imagine that number?… Read More 500 Insects
Meconema thalassinum – This is a male with long curved cerci. It is around 12-17 mm (5/8 in) long, excluding the long antennae. It is fully winged, but this cricket is a silent one and has no song. It was attracted to the light of my moth trap and the 2nd I have seen in… Read More Oak Bush-cricket
Last night I spotted the moon low on the horizon and noticed how large and red it was. I missed the full moon of August a few days ago, and according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, it is sometimes known as the Sturgeon Moon, the name likely given by both colonists and Algonquian-speaking people in… Read More Otherside of The Sturgeon Moon
Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) – I caught this one intially taking a few sips of water from my birdbath. I was looking through my patio window, and thought to myself I bet I won’t have time to swap over lenses, will I? I had my macro lens on, and I half expected the bird to fly,… Read More Caught Napping
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) – In a large field close to the river these birds hide in the tall grasses. I have seen them a few times now, and one can easily pass them by without knowing – unless you stray too near them, and then they take flight on their wide arching wings. This… Read More I can See You
Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina) – In the wee dark hours if you get up for a cuppa tea, or to pop to the loo, you might see the back end of one of these little critters as it scurries off to escape the sudden glare of light. It is from a primitive group of insects and… Read More Fish In Your House
Normally you would find these elongate plant bugs in dry grassland, but I had around half a dozen of them around my moth trap the other night in the backyard. They are quite small at around 5-6 mm (1/4 in) long.
I have just uploaded the 200th species of moth to A Nature Journey, and when you consider there are around 2,500 species in Great Britain that is but a drop in the ocean. Anyway, here are selection of moths, some you have seen before, and some perhaps you have not. If you wish to visit… Read More 200 Moths
The last day sundown of July was quite something special. From my backyard I cannot see the sun itself set as it slips behind a wooded hill and neighbouring houses. Yet last night the way the lowering sun reflected its dying light off the clouds it was almost like a 360 degree sunset. The sky… Read More Floating On A Dream
Dicranopalpus ramosus agg. This one was all stretched out on my shed wall waiting for a snack to land in its lap. It was a crafty devil as it made its place near a light source waiting for night fliers which might be attracted to it. This is not a spider, but a harvesmen, and… Read More All Stretched Out And Waiting
Steatoda nobilis – A first for me, and discovered in my bathroom, and narrowly avoided a toothbrush been hurled at it in the early hours by a startled family member. A distant cousin of the Black Widow, this is the largest of the 3 false widow spiders found in Britain, and the most notorious. This… Read More Noble False Widow Spider
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) – This butterfly has been quite a close companion in the garden over the last few days. It never strays far when it takes fight, and appears to have got used to me and hardly moves when I approach it. One of my summer favourites.
Andricus foecundatrix – Another gall which forms on oaks. The asexual generation of the Artichoke Gall Wasp (Andricus foecundatrix) is responsible for causing these galls which grow from Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur) or Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) leaf buds. Also called the Hop Gall, a single larva develops within the gall to maturity in August,… Read More Artichoke Gall
Knopper Gall (Andricus quercuscalicis) – These odd growths on the acorn are caused by a tiny wasp called Andricus quercuscalicis. It has quite a complicated lifecyle, so please stay with me. The agamous (asexual) generation develop within the galls on the acorns of various oaks including Pendunculate Oak (Quercus robur) and Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea)… Read More Check Your Acorns
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) – It was a morning where these butterflies were showing off their colours with their wings splayed fully open. This is the more brightly coloured female with its rich orange flashes on the wings. Meadow Browns appear to be a penny for a dozen (old saying) at present, and one can… Read More Who Said Meadow Browns Can be Dull And Boring?
White Water-lily (Nymphaea alba) – Nymphaea is Latin, which comes from a Greek term possibly referring to nymph or nymph-like, of a mythological supernatural spirit of nature, often described as a beautiful maiden associated with water, which would be very befitting for this delicate aquatic plant.
Oenothera biennis – lighting up the fields on a dull day.
Rubus idaeus – This image just goes to show how you can pass by so much without really noticing things. I discovered Rasberry today, growing wild off a narrow dirt pathway leading but a short few steps to the river. It was almost hidden by brambles and nettles, and shaded under willow, but here we have… Read More Rasberry
Silk Button Gall Wasp (Neuroterus numismalis) – On your travels have a look out for these clustered on the underside of oak leaves. Each gall contains the larva of the wasp. The last image shows what the top of the leaf looks like.
Common Frog (Rana temporaria) – I found this one hiding under a rock near the garden pond. It was smaller than my little fingernail. As you can see it still has its tail, but its limbs are developing, and it can hop a short distance, although a little clumsily. Early days yet.
Yellow Corydalis (Pseudofumaria lutea) – This low-growing plant with its golden yellow flowers is the 100th species to be added to A nature Journey. A non-native species originally from the Alps, I discovered it growing from a local canal bridge. It likes to grow between the degraded mortar in old walls, or between the cracks… Read More 100 Wild Flowers