Another red-letter day for garden insects
Sunday 31st August 2003 in the garden diary...
Lots of butterflies, another new and very handsome hoverfly and a spectacular visitation from a dragonfly made this a special day for insects in the garden.
| More info... || |
Red admirals (Vanessa atalanta) seem to be on the increase in the garden - there were several beautiful specimens around today. Increasing numbers of speckled woods (Pararge aegeria) were also evident - I even saw two of them engage in one of their characteristic spiralling confrontations.
The new hoverfly was the large and handsome Volucella pellucens which looks a lot like a bee at first glance. This animal has a fascinating life cycle: females creep into the nests of social wasps and bumblebees and lay their eggs within. After hatching the hoverfly larvae feed on dead wasps and grubs which accumulate at the bottom of the nest and on faeces from the wasp/bee grubs.
Unfortunately I cannot be so sure of the identity of the dragonfly I saw. Although I got some good views of it flying about, all I can say for sure that it was large and very strikingly green - I didn't get good enough views to say more than that. By size and the sheer amount of green on it, I can speculate that it might have been a female emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator), but its normally southerly distribution casts doubt on that. However this summer's northward range expansions of many butterflies and other insects, including dragonflies, lend some credence to the idea - I shall never know for sure!
Back to home page
Do you live in Merseyside? Interested in its wildlife?