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Just Amazing!

Saturday, July 30th 2016

Usually a common site at Foxglove and in everybody's garden is the Seven Spot Ladybird.  For the last two years the sight of one has given great joy, as they are really struggling at the minute.  Hopefully this is the lowest peak of the cycle for insects and we look forward to increased numbers in the coming years.

Seven Spot Ladybird on an Angelica stalk.

Sawfly larvae have also been scarce.  The ones seen today were large and took up their defensive posture as we were taking photographs.  Amazingly these were feeding on Silver Birch, which is a little strange as we have found them in the past on conifers and willows.  Brian was heard to mutter that we could do with a few more on Silver Birch as it may stop them spreading!  Possibly?

Sawfly larva on Silver Birch

They are not butterfly or moth caterpillars because they have no space between their legs and their claspers and have more than five pairs of claspers. 

Sawfly Larvae on Silver Birch

We have seen this 'creature' before and assumned that it was a caterpillar of a moth, but looking closely at it, when enlarged on the computer screen, even a tentative ID escapes me.  A bit more investigation needed.

White type of caterpillar?

It must look a bit strange watching me as I walk, stopping and turning over leaves of the trees along Risedale Beck, especially if the leaves have holes in them.  However the rewards can be great, the white 'creature' above and then these tiny, just hatching shieldbugs.  There is one just heading off and you can see the length of its antenna.  I think these are the carnivorous shieldbugs.  If they remain on this Alder tree they should be able to find enough food as there are larvae of the Green Leaf Beetle feeding on the leaves, holes left behind of course, for more investigation.

Tiny, just hatching shieldbugs

For those who are not excited and enthralled by creepy crawlies, this Water Vole was making the most of its ration of apple.  You can see its orange incisors that are excellent for chomping through the skin and flesh of the apple.

Water Vole just showing its incisor teeth

Its meal was disturbed by a bee or wasp flying overhead and it kept looking up at this pesky intruder!  (The yellow blob to the right of the plant.)

Water Vole and pesky intruder!

(2) Comments:

Catherine Beazley responded on 3rd Aug 2016 with...

Good morning,

An excellent blog and lovely pics! I think your mystery creature is the larvae of Alder Sawfly (Eriocampa ovate). One of the clever bird dropping mimics!

Best wishes,


Colin Duke responded on 19th Aug 2016 with...

Eriocampa ovata (Woolly Alder Sawfly)

Stage 2 Sedate or Bronze Shieldbug Nymph Troilus luridus

Colin D

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