Southern Marsh Orchids

Southern Marsh Orchids

Friday 30 September 2016

A weevil new for Wales

A couple of weeks ago I was in town for the Roald Dahl celebrations, which were fun but hectic - I've never seen the city centre so packed with people. While we took a breather in Bute Park I spotted some unfamiliar mines on one of the narrow-leaved willows (possibly Salix fragilis) growing near the castle.
On checking the website back home it became obvious they were the work of one of the Isochnus weevils, but the website told me there are two species on willow which are indistinguishable on mine and larval characters. I emailed Rob Edmunds, who runs the website, and he said the adults are easy to rear - just wrap the leaf petiole in damp tissue and leave in a pot til they hatch. It didn't take long...this week two adults emerged and I was able to confirm, using Morris' RES keys, that these are Isochnus sequensi.
This species was not listed on Adrian Fowles' weevils of Wales online checklist (see here). I emailed Adrian and he has now confirmed this is the first record for Wales of this weevil, which has a mainly eastern distribution in the UK.

Thursday 29 September 2016

Scabious Sawfly (Abia sericea) larva

Found this little beastie on the decking on Tuesday night and after a bit of searching managed to ID it as a Scabious Sawfly - I do have a lot of scabious in the flower beds this year but haven't noticed this quite large (approx 30mm) larva so I don't know where it's been hiding. The adult has a very distinctive appearance so something to look out for in the future.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

housefly with fungal infection

Found this fly dead on a curtain in the house - and after looking at hundreds of pictures trying to identify it I realised that the pale abdominal bands were in fact an indication of fungal spores emerging from between the abdominal segments. Not a particularly nice way to go ... even for a fly!

Monday 19 September 2016

Butterfly Fest at Lavernock Point NR 18/09/2016

A nice sunny day and little wind brought out the butterflies on Sunday with Painted Lady (2), Red Admiral (3), Small Tortoiseshell (1) and alot of Large and Small Whites (circa 460). The largest quantity of Whites were in the middle field.

Creigiau garden - new visitors

Three new visitors to the garden, two species of fly and a beetle - none of which appear to have many records in VC41. All three are approx 4 - 5 mm and very distinctive in appearance, so I'm fairly confident with the IDs.

Meiosimyza decempunctata

Palloptera muliebris - This is one of the 'Trembling-wing Flies' and was continuously on the move, so  I had to try and get images through the sides of a plastic pot. Apologies for the resulting soft images.

Dromius quadrimaculatus

Sunday 11 September 2016

Parc Slip 11 September

Took the camera for a leisurely stroll around Parc Slip this morning, principally looking for damsels & dragons. There was an abundance of Common Darter but very little else, but amongst the many Eristalis sp hoverflies, I did spot a few Helophilus pendulus and a couple of Arctophila superbiens (confirmed by Roger Morris on UK Hoverflies). I've never seen the latter before and, looking on the new LERC Wales Reporting Database (Aderyn), I can't see any reports of sightings at Parc Slip ....

Front & back views of Arctophila superbiens

Wednesday 7 September 2016

see-through larva of ????

Saw this on a Wallflower leaf on Tuesday afternoon. The front end is up - at least that is the direction it was moving. Size was approx 5-10mm. Grabbed some images but was distracted and when I looked back it had gone!

I assume it is a larva of some little garden beastie, but I have no idea where to start with this one. A Google search for 'transparent insect larvae ' came up with a lot of aquatics. Anyone have any ideas?

Monday 5 September 2016

Eupteryx sp leafhoppers

Not seeing so many of these little beasties in the beds this year ... maybe, as they are so small (approx 3mm)  they are not so keen on the persistent wet weather! Have seen sporadic visits from 5 species, 2 of which are new.  I have been seeing them on mint, oregano and New England Aster.

These 3 I saw regularly last year - Eupteryx melissae, E. decemnotata & E. stachydearum

This one is very similar to E. stachydearum, but the black mark on the mid-point of the vertex is deeply cut and so I think it could be E. florida - which would be new for me and the garden. I only managed one grab-shot before it disappeared into the greenery.

This last one was visually larger than the others and I think it may be Euptreyx aurata - again only managed a couple of quick grab-shots.

Sunday 4 September 2016

Steatoda grossa?

On Saturday morning, while checking the underneath of my garden moth trap for stowaway moths, before putting it back in the shed, I noticed a small (body length about 6-7mm) colourful spider. It was very camera shy, but as I was photographing it, the cream coloured band around the front of the abdomen told me it was one of the Steatoda Sp. As far as I can tell, it is S. grossa, but I would welcome any thoughts on that.

I live at 270m ASL, in the northern valleys and although I have heard rumours about false widows being all over the place, I have never encountered any; either at home, or while doing my job, as a gardener and suspect that most local reports are misidentification of the window frame spider Zygiella x-notata.

Last November, I spent a week at a holiday home in Lyme Regis, Dorset. I was amazed, while there, to see that every nook and cranny in the exterior of the house, garage and garden structures was occupied by spiders of the Steatoda genus; some quite large. I thing most of them were Steatoda nobilis, but S. grossa may have been present too and I now wonder whether I may have inadvertently brought one or two back with me and introduced them to my garden.

Thursday 1 September 2016

Garden invaders

Answering a call to a friend's garden in Creigiau I found two invasive species that were attacking her plants - a berberis bush had been defoliated overnight and on inspection I found what was left was covered with the larvae of Berberis Sawfly. A second bush was also infected but we managed to get most of them off and later sprayed the plant in hope of keeping them at bay.

Whilst the larvae squashing was taking place, I noticed a colourful looking beastie on a stem of lavender - Rosemary Beetle! Apparently this is again an invasive species that is causing damage to rosemary, lavender, sage and other similar crops.

RHS reckon that both species arrived in the SE of England in the late 1990s and have been spreading out ever since. Our friend is not a happy bunny !