Friday, 31 July 2015
Thursday, 30 July 2015
female's, this and the very narrow abdomen of the male helps distinguish the sexes.
Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Old Lady caterpillar 30/04/2008
Sunday, 26 July 2015
Friday, 24 July 2015
A pair of mate guarding dung flies in the garden, 26/08/2006, illustrating their sexual dimorphism.
Tuesday, 21 July 2015
Monday, 20 July 2015
Sunday, 19 July 2015
Saturday, 18 July 2015
Orthoptera & Allied Insects for more information.
Friday, 17 July 2015
Stuart Ball & Roger Morris 2015 Britain's Hoverflies: A field guide. 2nd ed. Wild Guides.
Thursday, 16 July 2015
Although I'll never know for sure, I think that the leafcutter is probably to blame. There are plenty of empty cavities in the bee hotel, but she apparently decided that this was a better hole than the rest and probably fought the mason bee out of her nest (Leafcutters have formidable scissor-like jaws, and this leafcutter species is a large bee), and then proceeded to empty the contents, eggs, pollen, nectar and walls to make space for her cells. Today, the leafcutter had completed her first cell (above). Note that the walls are still covered in yellow pollen.
The bee nestbox is providing plenty of surprises and allowing observations very difficult to make in natural holes. The events illustrated here remind me that competition is fierce out there, although in the case of hole nesting bees, it will pass unnoticed in the darkness. Many bumblebee queens are ousted from their nests by other bumblebee queens, not necessarily from cleptoparasitic species, which take over after a fight. In solitary bees and wasps, suitable nest holes might be limiting and intra and intraspeficic competition might be rife, although fights may often take place inside holes. Watch this fascinating video of three bees fighting for a nest hole by George Pilkington, and this series of photos by Simon Saxton documenting two Ectemnius wasps fighting for a nest hole. Nest lining thicker end walls provides physical defence, and might not only protect against cleptoparasitism, but also against other bees taking over, stealing the nest hole and destroying the nest contents.
7th of July. A female Osmia leaiana working on her nest. Note the remains of last year's leafcutters nest in the cavity under it.
16th July, a female leafcutter emptying nest contents by scooping pollen.
Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Monday, 13 July 2015
with the same abdominal spots.
Only photos taken in a particular angle, of the spider facing away show this, and I guess everybody prefers a front shot of a spider, so I think this pattern is probably found in the species at least regularly, and not only in the females, this side view of the spider allows to see the larger spot towards the end of the line of spots in a male
Have these spots evolved due to them giving an impression of eyes to visual predators, as the eyespots found in some caterpillars and butterflies? In some cases eyespots function to startle a predator giving the impression of a different, larger animal (like the elephant moth caterpillar, the peacock butterfly or this amazing tropical caterpillar), instead, in the wolf pirate spider the eyespots would work like those found at the rear end of some fishes and butterflies, whose function might be to trick or confuse a predator as to where the head of the animal actually is. In fact, eyespots are not unheard of in spiders.
Another Pirata sp with egg sac and 'eyespots' 22/07/2014, same habitat
For comparison, a female nursery web spider carrying her egg sac with her chelicerae.
24/05/2014A frontal view of the same male showing his enlarge palps:
Why would this be beneficial to this spider? What follows is only speculation, but apparently, wolf pirate spiders live in retreats in moss at the shore of ponds, and females carrying egg sacs often expose the egg sac to the sun at the retreat entrance, while the female remains inside. This could put the female in danger of predation, as she would be less able to detect danger, so the eyespots could afford some protection to the mother and its offspring to be, but I am not aware of any research into the evolution of these eyespots.
With thanks to Catherine Scott (@cataranea) for discussing this on twitter before I wrote the post.
Saturday, 11 July 2015
Friday, 10 July 2015
his website, where he has many informative videos and posts on solitary bees and bumblebees.
Thursday, 9 July 2015
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
'Arionids are sometimes seen rearing up off the ground, as if sniffing the air'It is a curious behaviour of unclear function, are they really 'sniffing' the air? could they be sensing humidity in the air, assessing when to retreat to a refuge, or looking/smelling for food? Although slugs have very simple eyes, this rearing and moving side to side could allow them to assess where shadows are indicating plants to climb. Alternatively, they could be detecting or emitting pheromones to find or attract potential mates.
Tuesday, 7 July 2015
Wild at Hull blog to find out. So, continuing in today's stormy day 7, I bring you a fresh 7 spot ladybird. Despite the abundance of Harlequin ladybirds in the garden, 7 spots seem to be having a good season and I have seen them regularly this year. This one was giving this knapweed bud a good check for aphids.
Sunday, 5 July 2015
Today I was very pleased to find out these bees are using my bee hotels, I hope to get some photos of the cells they are stocking soon.
Saturday, 4 July 2015
This is my bath pond (photo from last year, the lily is not yet flowering this year).
Friday, 3 July 2015
Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillars feed on Rosebay Willowherb, Bedstraws and Fuschias. There is a fuschia overhanging our garden and many cleavers. It was nice to realise that this moth's amazing caterpillar, which gives its common name to the moth, grew somewhere in the garden, and pupated nearby on the soil.
When I came back from work, in the evening, she was still hanging there, her wings hardened and opened (below). Hopefully she'll fly away tonight.