Moths and Other Critters

Wednesday, July 19th 2017

With this warm weather the moth trap gave a bumper haul of over 40 species with a fair few requiring more detailed examination. These are just a few of the delights from today. A male Chevron:

A female Chevron, which is slightly smaller than the male and less colourful:

A Plain Golden Y, which is similar to a Beautiful Golden Y but lacking a few markings:

Less beautiful, but maybe not to its male counterpart, was this biting female Horse Fly. The male incidently is found gathering pollen on various flowers.

There are 3,500 known species of horseflies, of which about 150 live in Europe. The female is the one that folk notice most, mainly because the little devils are sucking their blood. Unlike other blood sucking insects they can be quite painful initially when biting; stabbing with the mouthparts and slicing the skin with scissor-like movements of the finely serrate, knife-like mandibles and smaller maxillae. After capillaries are ruptured, anti-coagulant saliva is pumped out through the hypopharynx, and the blood is lapped up using the labella.

Once they are attached they are less painful, feasting until they have had their fill or until they are swatted off.

Stopping off at the Wetland I could see numerous newt larvae, soon to become an eft or newtlet when they lose their external gills and leave the pond. I am unsure if this is a Palmate or Smooth Newt as we have both species on the reserve (as well as Great Crested Newts) and at this age it's hard to distinguish between them. Its external gills are still clearly present!


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