Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Six or eight legged bug army fighting aphids

 Neat rows of black aphids suck the sap of one of the stems of a Lesser Knapweed in the garden. This morning, I notice a hoverfly, Syrphus ribesii, around, she lands near them, flies straight to the top of the aphid group and curves her swollen, pointy abdomen towards the branch. She is egg laying, notice two elongated white eggs near her in the top shot. She came back again to lay more eggs near the same spot. Hoverfly larvae feeds voraciously on aphids and female hoverflies choose the best spots to maximise the chances of their offpring thriving. Aphids populations are booming now and several groups of insects and spiders exploit them as their predators and parasites, as illustrated in the following shots.
A hoverfly larvae eating an aphid in the roses.
A parasitic wasp approaches a group of elder aphids. She will inject an egg into the body of an aphid and the wasp larvae will develop inside it.
This other wasp is laying eggs inside the aphids.
Adult 7 spot ladybird eating an aphid on rose.
Araneus diadematus spiderling on its web with a captured winged aphid
Late instar harlequin larvae with aphid
Philodromus spider with prey
And a jumping spider
A mirid flower bug nymph, Anthocoris sp. sucking the juices of the aphid in much the same way the aphid does it to plants.





6 comments:

Al said...

Simply amazing shots! Not only fantastic quality photos, but to capture these events actually taking place, is just incredible! very cool!
Another reason why I really like this great Post, is because a lot of the very same activities are going on in my small pollinator garden, on this side of the pond : )

Al said...

Africa,
I know you must get asked this question every day; but I'm just about to buy a new camera - And, I must ask! Which camera do you use? Also, I was thinking about buying the Pentax 16MP Optio WG-2. Mostly, because I like the idea of the LEDs. What would you advise?
Best regards,
-Al

Africa Gómez said...

Thank you Al, great you liked it. I use a Canon Powershot G10, which is getting a bit old. For 10 years I have used the Powershot range and I am very pleased with it. You can get very cheap canon powershot cameras with amazing macro capabilities - forget about birds though!. I recommended this one (less than £50) http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004HKJUJQ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=A1CPBVCE9F2V5G
to a friend who works with ladybirds the other day and she has been very pleased. They have great macros and are very portable, which means I can carry my camera with me at all times

Steve Plummer said...

The world's a pretty scarey place if you're an aphid! Really enjoy your blog - keep up the good work!! :)

Al said...

Thank you very much, Africa! Great info! Very helpful. I do enjoy your Blog very much :)

Africa Gómez said...

Thank you Steve for your kind words, scary it is indeed!