Thursday, 22 August 2019

Cinnamon Bugs and Painted Ladies

Byfield yet again, on a fine sunny day. The weather had brought out many interesting creatures, but no real surprises.

A Cinnamon Bug, Corizus hyoscyami, seated on the head of a sow thistle, greeted me when I entered the pocket park (and was still there an hour later). Once a considerable rarity, this striking insect is now relatively commonplace.

Corizus hyoscyami on a sow thistle seed head. Byfield Pocket Park.
21 August, 2019
Another bug, also unmistakable but for a different reason, is the Dock Bug, Coreus marginatus. Dozens of these, in various stages of development, were on dock plants throughout the area. The shape is shared by a number of other, less common, bug, but none has quite the sharp angles displayed by this species.

Dock bugs were out in force. Byfield Pocket Park. 21 August, 2019
A Silver-ground Carpet Moth, Xanthorhoe montanata, briefly made an appearance before fluttering deep into a bush. The carpet moths, and there are dozens of them, all sharea similar wing patterning and can be tricky. Noting the food-plant of the caterpillars is helpful, but the Silver-ground, though variable, is not too difficult. It is ubiquitous.

Silver-ground Carpet. Not a silvery moth despite the name.
Byfield Pocket Park. 21 August, 2019
Less than a metre away a Painted Lady butterfly was visiting marjoram, a plant irresisable to many insects. It was easily spooked and kept flitting away before a decent photograph could be obtained.

Painted Lady on marjoram. This butterfly has been reasonably common
this year. Byfield Pocket Park. 21 August, 2019
Still on the subject of lepidoptera, a geometrid caterpillar was chomping away at an elder leaf. Geometrid larvae are often dull but, without wishing to hurt any feelings, this one was particularly dull.

Swallow-tailed Moth? Probably, but I can't be sure enough to record it.
Elder is a plant which many caterpillars seem to find distasteful, so this narrows down the possibilities. I pretty certain it was the larva of a Swallow-tailed Moth, Ourapteryx sambucaria. Sambucus is the elder genus and the specific name gives us a strong hint.

It had the typical looping movement of a geometrid moth.
Byfield Pocket Park. 21 August, 2019
This is one of our most spectacular moths in a sometimes dull group. It is widespread and reasonably common.

I'll keep an eye open for an adult.

No comments:

Post a Comment