Posts Tagged ‘insects’

Brimstone moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) in the bathroom at night

Sadly I don’t see many moths these days but the other night I noticed this medium-sized yellow moth perched on the bathroom tiles. I caught it in a glass and tried to make it go out through the window but of course it came straight back, attracted by the bright light. It soon disappeared behind a light fitting and I have not seen it since. I looked it up and it is a common British moth, the brimstone moth (Opisthograptis luteolata).

This reminded me that I saw another moth back in the heady days of July but forgot to blog about it at the time…

Mystery moth viewed through the bathroom window…

…view from outside the bathroom window – the moth stayed on the glass in bright sunlight for several hours

The medium-sized moth was spectacular but turned out to be an invasive species accidentally imported from south-east Asia. It is known as the box-tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis) and was first seen in Kent in 2007. It has now spread through southern Britain. The larvae feed on box-tree foliage.

I did encounter a third moth over the last month, but was so keen to remove it from the house that I did not take a photo. It was a very dark shadow on the curtain net one night and turned out to be a large Mormo maura, the old lady moth or black underwing, It looked very sinister. I caught it in a glass and released it under a street light.

Although I didn’t snap it this time, I found that I had taken this picture of an old lady moth on an outside wall on July 18, 2011…

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Fly-like insect on Pericallis flower

Just a quick post to ask if anyone can identify an insect I saw today on this pretty plant I bought yesterday at a garden centre. It’s a Pericallis x hybrida, sold under the trade name of Senetti. The Pericallis is a member of the Aster (daisy) family and I love the bright colours.

But back to the insect. (more…)

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Can you tell what it is yet? Image from Wikimedia Commons – click to go to the source…

In the recent heatwave in the UK the house windows have been open most of the time and we have been sitting in the garden more often. But can it be that I haven’t noticed these disconcerting noises of summer in previous years?

They began a few weeks ago when the warmer weather arrived after a miserable, cool June. I started to hear a buzzing and it became more frequent. I thought we might have a wasps’ nest under the house eaves or in the soffits. I shut the bathroom window in the middle of the night so the husband wouldn’t notice it, trying to delay the moment when he found out and we had to get someone in to solve the problem. What a hassle that was going to be…

But as we sat out in the yard more we realised (more…)

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Phlogophora meticulosa or angle shades moth in the kitchen, September 28, 2011

Just a quick post to put on record two observations yesterday.

This moth flew into the kitchen last night, attracted by the light, and I managed to catch it in a glass. I was in the middle of eating, so couldn’t spend too long taking pictures before I let it go again outside. It was a lovely delicate pink and brown but refused to stay still for long.

I think I have now identified it as Phlogophora meticulosa or “angle shades”. These moths have such wonderful common names! Find out more on the UK moths or Butterfly Conservation websites.

Earlier in the day I saw this ladybird (ladybug) at the bus stop and took a picture with my phone. I saw some more of the insects nearby on a lime-tree leaf. I guess it’s time for the annual harlequin ladybird invasion.

The harlequin, Harmonia axyridis, was first spotted (no pun intended) in Britain in 2004 and has gradually spread north and west. Here’s an identification guide.


Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) and tiny grey insect at the bus stop, September 28, 2011

Can you see the teensy grey insect nearby? These were all over the metal frame of the bus stop, blending in well. Wonder what they are?

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Bee on Campanula in the garden, June 2011

On a sunny day in summer my Campanula is always full of bees.
If you know a little Latin, you will see Campanula translates as bellflower, but the variety I have, Campanula poscharskyana or Serbian bellflower, has open, star-shaped flowers rather than bells.

If I am not mistaken, bees like open flowers, as they have only a short proboscis (sort of hollow tongue) compared, say, with the long, wound-up proboscis of a butterfly that can reach into long, tubular flowers.


Easy-beesy - the Campanula flowers are open and accessible for this bumble bee...

Bees are (more…)

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A pretty blue-black Phymatocera aterrima on the Solomon's seal in my garden today...

Many years ago we planted Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum multiflorum) in the civilised part of our shady garden, but within a few years it was in a mess. Every summer all the leaves would be eaten to shreds by the larvae of the Solomon’s seal sawfly (Phymatocera aterrima). To me they looked like the caterpillars of a butterfly.


An image of sawfly larvae on Solomon's seal, by Andrew Steele - click on the picture to go to his Photostream...

Now all those cultivated plants have disappeared but many have re-established themselves in the deep shade on a bank under trees – it is after all a native variety. I saw one such this morning and spotted beautiful blue-black flies on them, moving around quite quickly over and under the leaves. I guessed they must be the sawflies, although I had never recognised them in adult form before.

Funny how a species can become so entangled with a particular host…


My Solomon's seal is currently in flower...

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