Monday, 1 July 2013

Pocket Park Miscellany

Rarely do I return from Byfield Pocket Park without noting something of interest. It is unlikely to be a rarity but may be an easily overlooked plant or animal or simply something that is photogenic. Palloptera saltuum is an example of the former - not particularly uncommon but easily overlooked, and or that reason distribution maps probably fail to reflect its true status. It is rather small too, and with my simple camera something of a challenge. It is given to wing waving, thus recalling certain Sepsid flies. My specimen, a female, was on a hogweed umbel.
Palloptera saltuum from Byfield Pocket Park.
29 June, 2013

Hogweed, Heracleum sphondylium, is one of our commonest umbellifers and is a magnet for many insects. Entomologists anticipate its flowering with considerable interest for, as well as attracting a range of commonplace insects there is always the chance of something unusual putting in an appearance - but not today. On a nearby umbel posed a very familiar hoverfly, Myathropa florea. Common it may be, but this wasp mimic (or is it a bee mimic?) is always eye-catching.

A hoverfly, Myathropa florea, on hogweed.
Byfield Pocket Park, 29 July,2013

Equally common on hogweed is the beetle, Oedemera nobilis, although today the example I found (a female) was on a buttercup. The bright green coloration and slender shape make it easily recognisable. It is commonly known as the Thick-legged Flower Beetle, but this is a little confusing as only males have the remarkably swollen femora on the back legs. 
Oedemera nobilis on buttercup. Byfield Pocket Park
29 July, 2013

On the leaves of a plant just a short distance away a pair of Woundwort Bugs, Eysarcoris venustissima, ( Eysarcoris fabricii in older books) were mating. The plant in question was indeed Hedge Woundwort, the principal food-plant of this common and charming little insect.
Woundwort Bug. Byfield Pocket Park.
29 July, 2013

I returned to the Pocket Park and found another specimen Of Palloptera saltuum. My photograph is a marginal improvement on the first.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tony
    I love that palloptera saltuum - must look out for one