Friday, June 15, 2012

Chrysotoxum festivum

The Chrysotoxum hoverflies are some of my favourites with their striking wasp-like features. The clip below is a Chrysotoxum festivum that was enjoying the brief bout of blue skies and warm sunshine at Afton Marsh a few days ago following days of gloom and drizzle!

The larvae of many hoverflies feed on various species of aphids. Those of this beauty feed on the so-called root aphids which are farmed by ants for their honeydew...which is why certain ants' nests are the place to search for them. Fascinating!

Other recent sightings from the Marsh include this solitary bee. We think that it is Andrena nitida, the white 'spots' caused by the pale hairs on the sides of the abdomen being fairly distinctive.

Soldier beetles are now starting to appear in numbers. This is Cantharis pellucida - I love the black 'highwayman's mask' on the face. Mind you, they don't just 'hold up' the other insects that join them on the umbellifer flower-heads....they eat them!

And, last but not least, a Dusky Slug (Arion subfuscus).

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