Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Noon-fly et al

Byfield Pocket Park, 12 June, 2013
My first visit to the Pocket Park for several days - oh calamity! All those native wildflower plugs, so carefully planted out a few weeks are submerged beneath a sea of tough perennials. This was not unexpected, and there are consolations: the "sea" consists of St John's Wort, Rose-bay Willow Herb, Cow Parsley, Red Campion and so on - all valuable plants for wildlife. The Common Hawthorn in the middle is flowering beautifully.

Noon Fly Mesembrina meridiana.
Byfield Pocket Park, 12 June, 2013

The weather was not particularly fine - quite dull in fact - but insects were out in some numbers, as though catching up for time lost earlier in the year. A Noon Fly, Mesembrina meridiana, posed obligingly on a gate, the orange wing bases standing out clearly. This is a common and widespread insect but I am always glad to see one.

A smart hoverfly, Syrphus ribesii, was 'loafing' on a leaf nearby. There are about 260 members of this family - the Syrphidae - occurring in Britain and many of them, as in the example shown, are mimics of bees or wasps. The advantages of this seem obvious.
The hoverfly, Syrphus ribesii, in
Byfield Pocket Park. 12 June, 2013

A short distance away a quite different creature was inducing galls on an aspen, Populus tremula. This is the work of a mite, Phyllocoptes populi. It will attack various poplars but I have only ever found it on aspen. These mites seem to do the tree no harm and, indeed, it is not in the interests of any gall-causer to harm its host.

Galls on Aspen, caused by the mite
Phyllocoptes populi, Byfield Pocket Park. 12 June, 2013

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