Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer variety

Many small things go on in the window box at this time of year and I can easily get overwhelmed with what needs to be worked out or dealt with.  Not that this couple of Sapromyza flies (Dipt: Lauxaniidae) would care about that:



One of the sallows has a fungal affliction that slightly distorts the leaves and there are yellowish patches of  ‘rust’ on the lower surface.  It is undoubtedly a micro-fungus, but I cannot pin it down to a particular species.


The colonies of Aphis gossypii on the tutsan are growing and the ants love the honeydew they secrete.  The abdomen of the ant on the right is gorged with it, but she is still drinking.  The black pods are of hairy tare.

I am still fascinated by the way the top of the small log is turning into a plateau of biodiversity.


One of the rush stalks has grown right through the blade of a leaf on the hazel (see below).  This means the leaf will not be blown away by autumn gales and its nutrients can go beck into the log top.


Saturday, August 09, 2014

The chequered fruit-tree tortrix

The caterpillar I found in a rolled leave of tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) on 30th June (see below) pupated and hatched into a moth recently.  It turned out to be a chequered fruit-tree tortrix (Pandemis corylana), a species whose larvae are usually found on trees, especially oaks.


Having photographed it, I took it back to the window box and let it go near the plants where I found its caterpillar.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Aphis gossypii

The blackflies depicted here on a shoot of tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) have been identified by Bob Dransfield, the national aphid recorder as Aphis gossypii, the cotton or melon aphid.


This is a widespread pest in the tropics but not so frequently recorded in Britain.  It can easily be confused with two other aphid species, Aphis chloris and an unnamed Aphis.

Although they are a difficult group, much progress in the identification of British aphids can be made by using this web site:

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A golden argent

Interesting name that – means a ‘golden silver’ – electrum maybe.

Anyway, I found this golden argent moth (Argyresthia goedartella) resting on a sallow leaf in the window box after a heavy rain shower (note raindrops in photo).

The larvae are found in birch catkins and there is a large birch tree nearby.


Monday, August 04, 2014

The first lacewing

This delicate insect exploring a sallow leaf on the window box is a green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea agg.  there are know to be several species in the aggregate, so it would be difficult to be more specific.

Among other things they eat aphids and we have some good colonies of this building up on the tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum)