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

999 Species

I have now recorded 999 species on this website, from plants to animals, fungi and even a cyanobacterium. I have stopped short of making this post ‘1000’ as the 999th species convinced me to use it as a marker milestone. Not surprising it happens to be an invertebrate, an arthropod, and an insect at that.… Read More 999 Species

Crucifer Shieldbug

Eurydema (Eurydema) oleracea – Also called the Cabbage Bug, this is a new visitor to the garden for me. Another one of the shieldbugs/stink bugs, but this one has a red colour form, too, which I have not seen. Double-click image to enlarge. © Peter Hillman ♦ 6th April 2020 ♦ Rear garden, Staffordshire ♦… Read More Crucifer Shieldbug

On The Run

Xantholinus sp. – This is another case of ‘nature sometimes comes to you’. I found this tiny rove beetle … yes it is a beetle … in my bathroom sink just seconds from going down the plughole. I found a nice piece of moss for it outside, and as it was doing a run for… Read More On The Run

Common Yellow Dung Fly

Scathophaga stercoraria – flies, like spiders, are not everyones cup tea, I know … but here is another fly, this one I discovered resting on fern. Double-click image to enlarge. © Peter Hillman ♦ 22nd June 2019 ♦ Local woodland path, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200

The Strange

Heterotoma planicornis – I always think the early stage of true bugs look kind of strange, and this nymph is no exception. The adults grow up to around 5mm (just under a 1/4in) long, and they look quite strange, too. See last image. Double-click image to enlarge. © Peter Hillman ♦ 30th June 2019 ♦… Read More The Strange

Clouded Border

Lomaspilis marginata – Yep … it’s a moth and not a butterfly, believe it or not. Quite a delicate looking moth with brown markings which can be quite variable. © Peter Hillman ♦ 19th July 2015 ♦ Back garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D3200

Gymnocheta viridis

This one was a new one for me. I know it’s but a fly, but I am always taken by the beautiful metallic green sheen. Double-click image for a closer look. © Peter Hillman ♦ 26th March 2020 ♦ Local woodland path, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200

Morning Yoga

Gorse Shieldbug (Piezodorus lituratus) – This one like to chill in the morning sun. Double-click image for a closer look. © Peter Hillman ♦ 24th March 2020 ♦ Back garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200

Spring Has Sprung

7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) – I have seen quite a few of these around the garden, and no doubt the sunshine and elevated temperatures have enticed them out of hibernation. Good news for the garden. This one was in the hollow of a curved leaf. Double-click image to enlarge. © Peter Hillman ♦ 24th March… Read More Spring Has Sprung

Brindled Pug

Eupithecia abbreviata – This attractive moth must have been bedazzled by my garage light and I found it on the door the next morning. Like most pugs they are only small with a wingspan of around 22mm (7/8in). It is an early spring species, and usually inhabits deciduous woodland where the caterpillars feed on oak… Read More Brindled Pug

Self Isolating

Sonronius dahlbomi – Like others around the world I am having to self isolate here because of the Coronavirus. I draw an interesting parallel to these tiny leafhopper bugs. Over the years I have come across these brightly coloured bugs (they are only about 5mm (3/16in) long) on a narrow woodland path and always in… Read More Self Isolating

Green Shieldbug

Palomena prasina – As soon as the sun appears these shieldbugs crawl out of their hidey-holes and bask in its warming rays. This one is still sporting its autumn camouflage suit, although I have noticed others are gradually changing back to green to blend in with the new spring growth. Double-click on image to enlarge.… Read More Green Shieldbug

Turnip Sawfly

Athalia rosae – I see a lot of these brightly coloured sawflies in the garden. They enjoy their leisure time and spend a lot of it just sitting about on lush green leaves in the flowerbeds. They grow up to around 8mm (5/16in) long, and love feeding on nectar from a range of flowers. The… Read More Turnip Sawfly

Ornate-tailed Digger Wasp

Cerceris rybyensis – That is a bit of a mouthful, I know. I spotted this feeding off the rich nectar of spindle flowers growing in my back garden. Double-click for a closer peek. Copyright: Peter HillmanCamera used: Nikon D7200Date taken: 15th June 2019Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire

Huddled Together

Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina) – Although these three are hardly green, for they have not long come out of hibernation and are still sporting their autumnal colours. I took these after venturing into the back garden today. The sun was bright and cheerful and very inviting, but it was very windy and cold, so I… Read More Huddled Together

Satin Grass-veneer

Crambus perlella – Out in the fresh summer fields I often disturb these moths and others of their kind from the grasses and low vegetation as I pass through. They don’t usually fly far and soon settle back into the growth. You do have to watch very carefully where they land as you can easily… Read More Satin Grass-veneer

Two Fan-foots

At first glance these two fairly well-defined macro-moths from the family Erebidae – subfamily Herminiinae – look quite similar. But look more closely … see how their finely drawn lines are different? Double-click to peer closer … Copyright: Peter HillmanCamera used: Nikon D7200Date taken: 6th July 2019 & 29th June 2019Place: Attracted to moth trap,… Read More Two Fan-foots

The Weird

Dock Bug (Coreus marginatus) early stage nymph. Wherever there is dock (Rumex) you are bound to spot a few of these living on it, feeding on the fruits and seeds. They pass through five stages before becoming an adult as in the last image. Double-click to get closer still … Copyright: Peter HillmanCamera used: Nikon… Read More The Weird

Like Polished Metal

Syrphus sp. – I am fortunate to have many hoverfly visitors to the garden. This one was taking a break from all that hovering about by resting on a leaf of my crabapple. Double-click to see more detail. Copyright: Peter HillmanCamera used: Nikon D7200Date taken: 26th June 2019Place: Rear garden, Staffordshire

Malthinus flaveolus

This is one small and pretty beetle at 4.5-5.5mm (1/8-1/4in) long and is difficult to find in the field. This one was attracted to my moth trap. Double-click for a closer look. Copyright: Peter HillmanCamera used: Nikon D7200Date taken: 29th June 2019Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire

Fly Bug

Reduvius personatus – At 16-18mm (5/8-3/4in) long this is a large and impressive black species of true bug belonging to the family Reduviidae – the Assassin Bugs. They are also called Masked Hunters. A synanthropic species, they live alongside humans benefiting from the association. They can be found in houses and outbuildings where they predate… Read More Fly Bug

European Honey Bee

Apis mellifera – Near the local river Common Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris) grows in fair numbers on the outer margins of a famer’s field, and the bright yellow flowers are nectar-rich and attract a lot of insects, including these magnificent bees. Double-click on photos if you wanna ‘bee’ closer. Copyright: Peter HillmanCamera used: Nikon D7200Date taken:… Read More European Honey Bee

Orange Swift

Triodia sylvina – This is from a primitive moth group called Hepialidae, which contains just 5 species found in the British Isles. The adults cannot feed for they have no functional proboscis. The images featured are that of the male. The sexes look quite different from one another. Copyright: Peter HillmanCamera used: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38Date… Read More Orange Swift

Willow Ermine

Yponomeuta rorrella – These small moths can be a fair challenge to photograph because of their pale and reflective scales, so best done out of direct sunlight with the exposure turned down a couple of clicks. Copyright: Peter HillmanCamera used: Nikon D7200Date taken: 18th July 2019Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire

Diamond-back Moth

Plutella xylostella – A very common micro-moth with a fairly distinct diamond pattern on its … well – its back. Double-click on images to get closer. Copyright: Peter HillmanCamera used: Nikon D7200Date taken: 6th July 2019Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire

Wainscot Smudge

Ypsolopha scabrella – Quite an extraordinary looking little moth with distinctive raised tufts which can be seen when the moth is at rest. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 20th July 2017 Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire  

Garden Rose Tortrix

Acleris variegana – An extremely variable micro-moth species in patterning and colouration. A melanic form also occurs. Like other similar species of Tortrix, it mimics bird-droppings to evade predation. The larvae feed on the leaves of a variety of trees and shrubs, including roses, brambles, hawthorns, cherries and apples. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon… Read More Garden Rose Tortrix

Old Lady

Mormo maura – You know when this one pays a visit because it is fairly large with a wingspan of up to 65mm (2 1/2in). Not one of the brightest of moths, but it has an interesting, fine-lined pattern. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 26th August 2017 Place: Attracted to moth… Read More Old Lady

Ash-bark Knot-horn

Euzophera pinguis – Quite an unmistakable micro-moth with distinctive zig-zag markings. The larvae feed under the living bark of ash, which if becoming infested may kill the tree. This is a localised species in England. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 20th July 2017 Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire… Read More Ash-bark Knot-horn

Common Plume

Emmelina monodactyla – An odd-looking moth which often rests with its wings rolled tightly up. It is quite a weak flier, and will only travel a short distance before settling down again. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 8th July 2017 Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire  

Iron Prominent

Notodonta dromedarius – A moth which looks like it is suffering from oxidation with its distinct red rusty markings. One of the easier of the night lepidoptera to photograph. They are fairly calm and will remain still for a long time. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 20th July 2017 Place: Attracted… Read More Iron Prominent