Saturday, 18 August 2018

Dock bug day at Cranford CP

Yesterday I was at Cranford CP to complete the weekly UKBMS butterfly transect and it was such a nice day - not too hot and not too cold - that a whole load of other critters were out and about too
No less than seven hoverfly species - ids under each photo and confirmed by Roger Morris
Myathropa florea

Eristalis arbustorum
Sphaerophoria scripta
Syrphus sp

Episyrphus balteatus

Dasysyrphus tricinctus

Volucella zonaria
The cooler weather meant there weren't so many butterflies around but I still clocked up nine species as below
9 x Large White
1 x Small White
1 x Small Copper
1 x Common Blue
12 x Holly Blue
15 x Speckled Wood
3 x Gatekeeper
1 x Meadow Brown
1 x Small Heath
Both Holly Blues and Speckled Woods have two flushes each year which accounts for the double figures these last couple of weeks
Several species of butterfly are now looking well past their prime and their wings are getting a bit tatty
Holly Blues

very tatty Holly Blue

Holly Blues - the bottom one is laying eggs

Holly Blue
tatty Large White

tatty Small Copper

Small Heath
Speckled Wood
Meadow Brown
The cooler weather had also bought out some Ladybirds - these are all 7-spots

Autumn is a good time of the year to spot galls - the photo below I purposely took as a comparison between a normal growing acorn and one that has been parasitised by a tiny wasp called Andricus quercuscalicis
When I uploaded and enlarged my photo (the second one down) I got a little excited that I may have actually got a photo of this tiny little wasp but after posting to a couple of facebook forums it turns out this tiny little critter is in fact Ormyrus nitidulus which is a parasitoid of gall wasps
So I got the gall and the parasite of the wasp that made it - bonus

Just like most other insects it has been a good year for Darters - my id skills aren't great on these smaller dragonflies so I'm tentatively identifying this one as a Ruddy Darter
I think the highlight of my day though was seeing the huge amounts of Dock Bugs basking during the sunny spells - I know every August I rave on about these species of bug but they do fascinate me and make such good photographic subjects
Dock Bug is their common name - they are called Coreus marginatus and also known as Squash Bugs
Just like shield bugs they go through various changes in their short lives - these changes are known as 'instars' and are similar to the various changes us adults go through - from baby to toddler to child to teenager etc
The first photo is of early instar

the next two are of late instar

and the rest are of young adults

Dock Bugs can be seen all year round - they have one generation per year - the adults mate and lay eggs in spring - the nymphs feed on dock and sorrel and the new adults are found from August onwards - they are pretty common and widespread yet I still get a kick when I see my first ones of the season
Another successful visit to Cranford Park with plenty to see and observe



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