Friday, 30 September 2016

Cranefly emerging from Larval case.

Hi everyone.

I have something of a different post today, a guest photographer friend of mine.

He emailed the photo below to me. His lawn had a lot of Cranefly emerging from it. The Cranefly is a member of the Tipulidae family of the order Diptera. It was emerging from it's Larval case at the time he took the photo. I said I'd never seen this happening before and he gave me his permission to post it. It's an amazing photo.

For overseas visitors to my blog, the Cranefly is often called a daddy long legs in England. It is not to be confused with the daddy longlegs insect of America.

Thank you Peter.

Cranefly emerging 
from Larval case.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Canary-shouldered Thorn moth, Ennomos alniaria.

This morning I had a real prize on our doorstep, a Canary-shouldered Thorn, Ennomos alniaria. 

It's a beautiful moth, I saw one at Cromwell last year, but this is the first time I've seen one in our garden. It was on the doorstep, so I had the chance of a lot of good shots from different angles. I sometimes wonder what neighbours think of me. One minute I'm up a ladder with a camera, bending at silly angles, next, I'm prostrate on the garden path. At my age, it has too  look strange, but then, I think they are used to me now, after living her for over 30 years.

This specimen is in beautiful condition. Quite a few of the moths I've seen here of late, have been very battle scarred and worn. it made for lovely photos.

Habitat: Woodland, gardens, parks, fens and scrub land.
Wingspan: 38 to 42 mm. Forewing 16-20 mm.
Flight: July to October.
Foodplant: Various trees including Alder, Downy and Silver Birch, lime and elm.
Life cycle: One generation a year.  Overwintering as an egg on the foodplant. Larvae may be seen from May to July. Pupation takes place among plant debris.
Listed as: Common.

Canary-shouldered Thorn moth, -
Ennomos alniaria.

Like other Thorn's, it holds 
its wings up when resting.




Have a good day,
Gordon.




Monday, 5 September 2016

Harvestman, Dicranopalpus ramosus.

This morning I found a tiny Harvestman by the door. It's body was  3 to 4 mm long. Once I looked at it through the camera, I was amazed to see it had what I took to be two large claws. These can be clearly seen in the photos below. After some research I decided this harvestman could only be Dicranopalpus ramosus. 

The large "claws" are called pedipalps. These are believed to be tactile sensory organs. If you look closely at the photos you can see what at first seems to be blurring around the forked part of the pedipapls. This is in fact, a whole set of small, white cilia (hairs) with a feathery tip, each hair having a round tip. To view Scanning electron micrograph photos of, it click the link below. Both links below have been tested and should work.

http://www.psmicrographs.co.uk/bhttp://www.psmicrographs.co.uk/blog/post/Scanning-electron-microscope-images-of-Dicranopalpus-ramosus.aspxlog/post/Scanning-electron-microscope-images-of-Dicranopalpus-ramosus.aspx 

This species has very long legs, the second pair can be up to 5cm long. It has a distinctive resting position, with held at right angles to the body, making it easy to identify. It has spread across Europe from Morocco. First reported in Bournemouth in 1957, it had spread to Scotland by the year 2000.

Looking on the British Spiders site, the last record of it was 2015. Perhaps my find can update this record?

http://srs.britishspiders.org.uk/portal/p/Summary/s/Dicranopalpus+ramosus

The adult season for it runs roughly July to November. There are only small differences between the sexes.

Habitat: Mostly outside on walls and fences, also in garden sheds and occasionally indoors.
Status: Frequent in Britain.
Size: Males upto 4mm, females up to 6mm.

Now for the photographs:

Harvestman, Dicranopalpus ramosus


Note the white cilia round the 
forked part of it's pedipalps



So, a new species to me and I hope to some of you. It would be nice if some of you find it, to notify FEET please.

Gordon.