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 

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

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

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.

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

In Autumn Colours

Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina) showing its autumn colours. It will go darker, turning to a deep bronze as winter takes hold and then will hibernate during the coldest period. In spring it will gradually turn back to full green.

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

Rosemary Beetle

Chrysolina americana This attractive beetle is from a family called Chrysomelidae the leaf beetles. It is a fairly recent newomer to Britain, introduced in the 1990s and now established in most of England and Wales, and still expanding its range. It is considered a pest of Rosemary, Lavender, Sage, Thyme and similar plants, both the… Read More Rosemary Beetle

Ear Wicga

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

At The Bee Hotel

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

500 Insects

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

200 Moths

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

I Can Hear You!

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus) – I have noticed when I have been out in the field this summer that some butterflies are directly reacting to the sound of my camera shutter and quickly taking flight, and so instantly I get a blur of wings on occasion. I thought it perhaps coincidence, but then asked myself this… Read More I Can Hear You!

Longhorn

Oecetis ochracea – This is one of a fascinating order of insects called Trichoptera – the caddisflies. As you can see this one has antennae that appear to go on and on. Please double-click images for a closer look. For further interest please visit the Caddisflies page.

Small Copper

Lycaena phlaeas – One of my favourite of the small butterflies, but one I see much too infrequently here. But thankfully, according to Butterfly Conservation, its priority is low and it is not threatened here in Britain or across Europe as a whole. I came across this one in a local field settled on Oxeye… Read More Small Copper

Spotted Magpie

Anania coronata – This has to be one of my favourite micro-moths with its beautiful pearlescent markings. Another one that was attracted to the outside garage light, despite the continuing rain. Double-click image for a closer look. For further interest visit the ‘Moths’ page.

Balance

Long Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta) – This is a male, and the abdomen is longer than the length of the forewing which helps readily identify this species. It was feeding on Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) in a local field. I was actually photographing the daisy to begin with when this beauty came along. Double-click image for… Read More Balance

Meadow Brown

Maniola jurtina – This was a bit of an odd one. Firstly, it’s very rare I see a Meadow Brown butterfly in the garden. I usually see them by the dozen in the local fields. Secondly, it behaved quite docile. Usually they fly off when you get near them, yet this one only flew a… Read More Meadow Brown

Small Quaker

Orthosia cruda – This is a common spring species here, so its flight time has now come and gone. This small moth has a plain appearance with light colouration, but has fairly distinct kidney-shaped markings on the forewings. Double-click image for a closer look. For further interest visit the ‘Moths’ page and also the ‘Noctuidae’… Read More Small Quaker

The Coronet

Craniophora ligustri – This is the first time I have seen this beautifully coloured and patterned moth. It appears to be a nice fresh specimen expressing olive hues, which I intially found resting on my garage wall. It is widely distributed across most of Britain, but it is not a common species. Double-click images for… Read More The Coronet

Tigers In The Garden

Tiger Cranefly (Nephrotoma flavescens) – We have had zebras and now we have tigers. This is a female with a pointed tail end. Another ferocious looking insect but it does not bite or sting. Craneflies in general play an environmentally important role. Their larvae help enrich the soil, turning dead organic litter into nutrient-rich material.… Read More Tigers In The Garden

Roesel’s Bush-Cricket

Roeseliana roeselii – There are a few of these about now, and yes, active in the day, they are quite a challenge to photograph in the long grass. They do not generally fly, but they can leap a fair ways. Double-click image for a closer look.

Reed Stem Borer

Calameuta filiformis – This is one of the sawflies, which are a fascinating group of insects and are related to the bees, wasps and ants of the order Hymenoptera. They are of a suborder called Symphyta. Sawflies do not sting, despite how ferocious some of them may look, and can sometimes be easily overlooked as… Read More Reed Stem Borer

Narcissus Bulb Fly

Merodon equestris – Despite the poor June weather here, this hoverfly decided to pay a visit. A very sprightly darter about the place fly it was, too. It is a bumblebee mimic, and comes in many varied forms which allows it to mimic different species of bee. Double-click image for a closer look.

Microcosmos III

Rose Leaf Miner (Stigmella anomalella) – The rose cuttings again … this little wiggly shape in the leaf are caused by the tiny larva of a micro-moth as they feed on the tisse within. Double-click image for a closer look.

Microcosmos II

Rose Aphid (Macrosiphum rosae) – Again, looking through the rose cuttings I came across what I initially thought was just an aphid, until I looked closer and noticed it appeared to be fixed to the leaf by a silken pad of sorts. I discovered that the aphid had been parasitised by a braconid wasp, possibly… Read More Microcosmos II

These Broken Wings

Peacock (Aglais io) – I know, a Mr. Mister song from the mid 1980s which I remember well, but it sums up the sorry state of this butterfly who stayed for a long, long time in my back garden feeding on this flower.

Small Tortoiseshell

Aglais urticae – I have seen a couple of these fluttering around the backyard for a few days now. They appear very determined to feed and are hardly bothered by my passing by them or when I am observing them. They do fly off on occasion, circle the garden, and come back again to feed.