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
x5 images. Double click to enlarge. Lifting a piece of bark in a garden border, the last thing I expected to find was a delightful Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris). It remained where it was, frozen to the spot. I hadn’t got my camera, so I gently placed the bark back and went into the house to… Read More What Lies Under A Piece of Bark
You can see why they named this small fungus so. It has a delightful Latin name Xylaria hypoxylon. It is also named Candlesnuff Fungus as it generally blackens.
This is an irregular resupinate fungus forming large spreading patches which is tightly attached to the substrate with waxy flesh which turns dark brown when dry and becomes brittle. I have shown close views in the first two images to show the fascinating structure of this fungi. It is uncommon, and it is usually found… Read More Mycoacia fuscoatra
The Clustered Bonnet (Mycena inclinata) discovered on a rotting tree stump. Despite the potential lighting difficulties of photographing fungi … at least they don’t try and run away, and they don’t hardly move in the wind … I don’t really like to use flash on mushrooms as I much prefer the natural light. In manual… Read More Clustered Bonnet #2
Not Ghostbusters slime … but Mycetozoa – slime moulds, more discovered this time in local woods. This species looks to be the same as in the previous post Trichia botrytis. Like all slime moulds, they creep across a surface very slowly devouring food until they run out, and when they run out they will release… Read More Yup … More Slime Forecast …
This small but attractive fungi appears on dead twigs of broad-leaved trees in autumn and winter.
This tiny, brightly coloured slime mould is called Trichia botrytis. It thrives on dead wood, and is quite variable in colour. This was found on the underside of loose bark, and autumn is the time of year that slime moulds mainly make their appearance.
Also called the Lawyer’s Wig, this can be quite a large and impressive mushroom with a tall cap. When it opens up the cap and white gills gradually blacken and dissolve into black ink from the edge upwards to release its spores. Eventually the cap will melt away completely until only the stem remains. Seen… Read More Shaggy Inkcap Coprinus comatus
One of my favourite shrooms with its firey orange shades and fibrous cap. Found growing on rotting logs and stumps in coniferous woodland and very occasionally also on hardwoods. It also grows on woodchips used as mulch. Fairly common and widespread in Britain, it can be seen June to November.
Whilst initially looking like ice crystals or coral, it is actually a slime mould – which is not a fungi but belongs to the kingdom Protozoa – single-celled organisms. This colony was found covering a large area of a fallen and decaying tree trunk. Although many slime mold species fruit on wood they do not… Read More Coral Slime Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa
This is quite an attractive and colourful little mushroom which grows in large tufts on rotting tree stumps and logs. It is very similar to the Funeral Bell (Galerina marginata) which is deadly poisonous. This was found on a mossy White Willow which had fallen near the river.
This caused some excitement the other day in the Harvestmen group I am a part of. Note that the ‘A’ at the end in the title is not a typo, but is there because scientists have yet to name it! It was first discovered in Europe in the Netherlands back in 2004, and then in… Read More Leiobunum sp. A
Dicyrtomina saundersi is its name, and not an insect (although previously considered to be) but a springtail. There is a kind of ‘spaceman’ like figure in the pattern towards the head, and a distinct dark barred patch towards the rear of the abdomen which helps separate it from similar species. It looked directly up at… Read More Cuter Than Cute – For A Bug
I really enjoy the autumn sunlight. It is less harsh and more gentle on the eye and the landscape it illuminates. The light was a at the back of these faded Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) fronds when I took the image.
Philoscia muscorum has a dark stripe along the centre of its back. One of the ‘famous 5’ very common British species of woodlouse most likely to be seen. Seen all year round, it forages for dead organic matter on which it feeds during the cover of night, hiding under stones, bark or logs during the day.… Read More Common Striped Woodlouse
Odiellus spinosus – Its been a good year for harvestmen, and I have seen quite a few different species around, but I haven’t seen this one in the garden for some years now. This one has 3 distinct horns of similar length which, together, is called a ‘trident’, and has a dark oulined ‘saddle’ on… Read More Autumn Is A Time For Harvestmen
Common Harvestman Paroligolophus agrestis – This was quite something to see, a tiny springtail, Deuterosminthurus pallipes, hitching a ride on the back of a harvestman.
Well not quite – it is an Oribatid mite found in soil under a clay flower pot. They are also called Beetle Mites or Moss Mites. The order Oribatida has species which range from 0.2 mm long to 1.4 mm (1/128 in to around 1/16 in) long … and this is somewhere inbetween. These very… Read More A blob of Red Jelly
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
The delightfully named leafhopper can be found on Hawthorn, Rowan, and several other trees incluing various fruit trees.
This rather attractive green coloured spider is seen spring through to autumn, on trees and bushes, often in suburban gardens and parks. Double-click to enlarge.
One brave spider for going up against a wasp.
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
I caught this one on my back decking peering in through my patio window before it decided to jump on top of the fence.
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
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.
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
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
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