Bug Detectives

Thursday, August 2nd 2018

We had a great day of Bug Detective work yesterday with Roger Key; as always enjoyed by all, if not slightly more by some of the more enthusiatic parents!

After a quick briefing on the proper handling of nets, beaters and pots we made it half way to our destination before stopping to look at some interesting captures (as is often the way).

Once we had arrived it was time to fan out and get catching!

We're still waiting on identification of some of the specimens found yesterday, however I was having plenty of fun helping people where I could and taking pictures.

As always Knapweed proved very popular with pollinator species, including this male Buff/White-tailed Bumblebee (notice the elongated antenna), and this female Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) with each of its abdominal segments possessing two dark bands seperated by two orange bands, which is distinctive in British hoverfly species.

This incredible little hoverfly is ubiquitous and can even be seen on sunny days in the middle of Winter! Often mass immigrations of this species in the summer months lead to reports of 'plagues of wasps' by the uninformed press.

We also happened upon a number of amphibians throughout the day, finding many frogs and even this juvenile Smooth Newt.

I also happened upon this White-clubbed Hoverfly (more commonly known by its latin name Scaeva pyrastri), another distinctive hoverfly species as it possesses three pairs of white lunules (comma markings) on the abdomen. If this were Scaeva selenitica then these marking would taper towards the periphery and would be more yellow in colour.

Another great pest controlling species, the larvae feed on different aphid species, consuming anywhere up to 500 aphids during their larval stages. Numbers vary dramatically year on year, as like the Red Admiral or Clouded Yellow butterflies it is a migratory species that can and often will breed locally at lower elevations.


As a side note Scaeva pyrastri -  and it is not on the online species list and so is likely to be a new species to the Reserve!

Keep an eye out for future blog posts on more of the as yet unknown species caught yesterday by our Bug Detectives; Roger believes we may yet have a couple more new species to add to the list. 

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