Archive | June 2014

Spear Thistle and bees

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Beside the hot tarmac of a roadside carpark a patch of wild flowers added colour to The Bourne. Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare was in full bloom – this thistle seems to come into flower in the summer here, later than some other species.

Females of the Garden Leafcutter bee Megachile centuncularis and the Two-spotted Flower bee Anthophora bimaculata were racing from flowerhead to flowerhead gathering pollen as they used their long tongues to search for nectar.

The leafcutter collects pollen into a scopal pollen basket of hairs on the underside of the abdomen while the Anthophora (note her green eyes) collects pollen onto the hind legs.

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Lavender Cotton and bees

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Hastings Old Town lies in a small valley and at noon today was noticeably warmer than the coast, sheltered from the fresh east wind yet catching the sun.
Wayside and garden flowers lit up areas close by the Bourne Road, the main traffic route here. Despite the noise, speed and bustle of cars and lorries insects were searching for pollen and nectar.Some patches of Lavender Cotton Santolina chamaecyparissus were doing well on some stony ground. This aromatic member of the Daisy Family grows in the wild from Spain eastwards to Serbia in rocky and mountain terrain, but here is a popular summer garden planting.

Numbers of the bee Colletes daviesanus  were visiting the flowers, the females collecting pollen and being pursued by males which were also taking nectar.

Male (above) and female Colletes daviesanus.

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Water-cress and visitors

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White flowers of Water-cress Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum are in profusion in some of the ditches near Cooden. The blossoms attract many insects including the hoverfly Tropidia scita (here pictured) and the housefly Musca autumnalis.

The predatory fly Empis tesselata seemed to attack flies several times but were repulsed despite their long piercing mouthparts as their intended targets had too good an armour of chitin on the pronotum, protecting the soft parts between the head and the thorax.

The Water Cycle

The Water Cycle

With rain falling and all the greenery of late spring it seems shocking to find how little of the Earth’s water is freshwater.

Levels of water

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The Pevensey Levels are replenished by further rains supporting the aquatic flora of ditch, pond and hollow as well as pastures.
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Water Forget – me – not Myosotis scorpioides adds a sprinkle of light blue to the greenery of sedges, rushes and others along the banks.
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Sawfly – Tenthredo temula

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The adult Sawflies can be very predatory, hunting down smaller insects attracted to the nectar of flowers such as Hemlock Water-Dropwort. The mandibles are fearsome and often asymmetrical in their cutting edge sculpturing. Here at Cooden this large sawfly was patrolling Dropwort umbels above a freshwater ditch.

 

Sawfly – Tenthredo mesomela

Warm sunshine brought a host of insects out on the last day of May. A large black and green coloured Sawfly was flying and landing on sunlit leaves and I have identified it as Tenthredo mesomela from photos.

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Sawfly

This hymenopteran is a sawfly. It was flying about Cow Parsley flowers a few days ago and I managed a few pictures as it perched. These insects are not easy to identify to species and I think it is one of the forms in the Genus Tenthredo300514 036.

It shows a testaceous costa, an amber coloured stigma surrounded by a well defined blackish wing cloud. The humeri are black and the scape (basal antennal segment) also appears black.

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