Not Just Any Duck

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) are often taken for granted, but I hadn’t seen one for quite sometime. So when I came across several males and females on the local canal they were a pure delight to see as they paddled across the still waters with autumn reflections.

Small Wonder

x3 images. Double click to enlarge. Another dedicated mother looking after her eggs. This is the Cream-backed Comb-footed Spider (Neottiura bimaculata), which was a new species for me this year, discovered in the back garden. Only a small one with a body length of around 3 mm (1/8 in). The female carries her egg-sac attached to… Read More Small Wonder

Spotlight on The Grey Dagger Acronicta psi 

There are two very similar ‘dagger’ species in Britain, the Grey Dagger (Acronicta psi) and the Dark Dagger (Acronicta tridens). The adults cannot be accurately identified visually without genital dissection and microscopic scrutiny – but I don’t like to harm them so this adult would be recorded as an aggregate species Acronicta psi/tridens. The adult is readily… Read More Spotlight on The Grey Dagger Acronicta psi 

The Dangers of Courtship For The Male Garden Spider Araneus diadematus

x7 images. Double click to enlarge. It’s amazing what you see sometimes as you travel through your own backyard. I spied this female Araneus diadematus some days ago. She is really quite a big individual and had made a large orbweb stretched between a plant pot and some shrubbery. Here she has a good meal… Read More The Dangers of Courtship For The Male Garden Spider Araneus diadematus

Beautiful Beetle

x3 images. Double click to enlarge. This is the Rosemary Beetle (Chrysolina americana) which I found on my Lavender. It looks like it has been crafted from soft metals and has been purposefully engraved with rows of tiny circular indents. As beautiful as it may look, it is considered a pest of Rosemary, Lavender, Sage,… Read More Beautiful Beetle

A Moth That Mimics A Leaf.

x2 images. Double click to enlarge. This is Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa), and its is quite an extraordinary looking moth. Very distinctively shaped and patterned which make it resemble a withered leaf. It rests with its wings folded in an unusual fashion. It is often seen during the day resting on walls, fences and foliage.

A Good Relationship

x3 images. Double click to enlarge. Introducing the Ant Woodlouse Platyarthrus hoffmannseggii. Growing up to a length of 5 mm (1/4 in), it is blind and spends all of its life underground. It is always nearly found in association with ants within their nests where they have a good relationship. The woodlouse is tolerated and… Read More A Good Relationship

The 600

x3 images. Double click to enlarge. This is the 600th insect species I have uploaded on Nature Journeys, and what a bright and beautiful one it is, too. It is a fly, a hoverfly called Epistrophe grossulariae. It prefers woodland edges, meadows and wetalnd areas where it will feed on the nectar from flowers. The… Read More The 600

Face On

1x photo. Double click to enlarge. At 1 mm (3/64 in) or less in length these small mites called Euzetes globulus are hard enough to focus on and photograph, but you add in that they are always on the move it multiplies the challenge. Thankfully these are slow movers compared to other mites, which give… Read More Face On

Face Fly

x2 photos. Double click to enlarge. Species Musca autumnalis. A sexually dimorphic species where the males have bright orange and black patterned abdomens and the females are light grey and black. These are obviously all males. This species gets its common name from its habit of landing on the faces of cattle or horses where they… Read More Face Fly

Fabulous Fly

x1 image. Double click to enlarge. This attractive fly is called the Broad Centurian (Chloromyia formosa). It is a sexually dimorphic species where both male and female have a shiny green thorax but the female has a blue-green abdomen, sometimes with a violet sheen, and the male has a bronze abdomen. This is a female. Look… Read More Fabulous Fly

Delicately Beautiful

x1 image. Double click to enlarge. Another one of the Hemiptera – true bugs – but a small but delicately beautiful member of the Tingidae family commonly known as lace bugs. this one is called the Hawthorn Lacebug (Physatocheila dumetorum). A small bug at around 3 mm (1/8th inch) long.

Stalking Prey

x1 image. Double click to enlarge Lacewing larva wearing its debris overcoat. They often cover themselves in all kinds of natural debris, even the bodies of victims, to help disguise itself. These will eat up the aphids in most gardens.

No Seashells Here

x8 images. Double click to enlarge. Here are a selection of ‘freshwater’ shells found near the edge of a local canal. The Asian Clam is a rapidly spreading invasive species which was unknown in Britain before October 1998. Originated in China, Korea, south-eastern Russia, and the Ussuri Basin. The first time it has been recorded… Read More No Seashells Here

Turned to Gold

x4 images. Double click to enlarge in full. I don’t tend to post many slugs on this blog, although I have photographed quite a few, because I realise they are probably not everyones favourite animal. Yet I think this particular one with its gold speckling which are chromatophores (pigment cells) catches the eye and stand… Read More Turned to Gold

Extraordinary Beauty

x2 images. Double click to enlarge fully. I found this very bristly and brightly coloured moth caterpillar on my green recyling bin. It is called the Vapourer (Orgyia antiqua), and it feeds on various broadleaved trees and bushes.

Emergence

x2 images. Double click to enlarge. This year seems to have been a good year for the emergence of the Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) from the garden pond. I observed quite a few in the garden, and this one was resting on my garage wall.

Making Rainbow Colours

x1 image. Double click to enlarge. This is one of the fine and delicate green lacewings Chrysoperla sp. I watched it flutter lazily through the air and alight on a rose. A combination of the angle of natural light and flash gave it rainbow wings.

Nature Pays A Visit

x5 images. Double click to enlarge. This extraordinary insect was discovered in the house, of all places. It is called the Small Snakefly Xanthostigma xanthostigma. This is a female with her long needle-like ovipositor. There are only 4 species of snakefly in Great Britain under the insect order called Raphidioptera, and in 1 family Raphidiidae.… Read More Nature Pays A Visit

All Green

x1 image. Double click to enlarge. This tiny Cicadellidae (Leafhoppers) nymph was found on willow. There are several similar species and identification can be difficult, especially at this early stage. With some help I manged to get it down to Kybos sp.

More Ant Antics

x3 images. Double click to enlarge. Here we have the Small Black Ant (Lasius niger) again. But what is he up to this time, you may wonder? I found him on my Fatsia Japonica with these strange yellow ‘bumps’ which are in fact another species of scale insect called Viburnum Cushion Scale (Lichtensia viburni). And… Read More More Ant Antics

Kingdom of The Ants

x2 images. Double click to enlarge. Ths is the Small Black Ant Lasius niger milking the Small Willow Aphid (Aphis farinosa) for its poop, which is pure honey to them – honeydew. Even waste doesn’t go to waste.