Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Byfield: bugs and hazel

The weather was fine when I visited Byfield Pocket Park earlier today. The insects have generally increased in abundance over the past week or so, but I wasn't expecting any dramatic finds. Nor were there.

I closely examined a largish plant of Lesser Burdock in the hope of finding some picture-winged flies, i.e. members of the Tephritidae family. I could see none but nevertheless gently swished my net through the leaves. Amazingly I found that I had secured four bush crickets. On another plant nearby I found another one and attempted a photograph but the results were poor and the image below is the best I could do.

The Speckled Bush Cricket is a cunningly camouflaged creature.
 Byfield Pocket Park10 July, 2019
I released all the captives having examined them and satisfied myself that they were Speckled Bush Crickets, Leptophyes punctatissima. They are wingless creatures and, as the name suggests, covered in little black speckles. Despite their inability to fly it is a widespread species, found abundantly over southern England the Midlands.

There were many hogweed plants in flower so it was no surprise to find Cheilosia illustrata present. It is very distinctive among Cheilosia species and hogweed flowers are a favourite re-fuelling point. The species was a male, the compound eyed almost touching in the middle, i.e. holoptic.

Cheilosia illustrata is known as the Bumblebee Cheilosia, but the mimicry
 seems not entirely convincing. Byfield Pocket Park, 10 July, 2019

I found also the strange nymph of the Tree Damsel Bug, Himacerus apterus. It is a common species and perhaps only significant to the pocket park in that it becomes the 100th species I have recorded there.

Inevitably this number will increase as I sort through the other insects found today but I will end with a photograph of hazel fruits.

The fruits of the Purple-leaf Filbert. Lovely!
Byfield Pocket Park, 10 July, 2019
(Warning: may contain nuts)

I suffered some form of mental aberration yesterday and rambled on about beeches. I fact the fruits featured were those of a hazel or, to be more precise, the Purple-leaf Filbert, Corylus maxima 'Purpurea'  My apologies to my readers who may have suffered an attack of apoplexy!  But in either case the colour is due to the presence of some form of anthocyanin pigment. And the nuts should taste good if I can beat the grey squirrels to them.

No comments:

Post a Comment