Southern Marsh Orchids

Southern Marsh Orchids

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Cantharis fusca query

Saw this at Cosmeston last week - certainly a soldier beetle, possibly Cantharis fusca .... ?


Thursday, 1 June 2017

new spider in the garden ...

Found this in the ferns while looking for signs of  Psychoides filicivora. Not seen one like this before - possibly a Philodromus sp.... ?


Other hunting spiders seen recently include this Wolf Spider, see here with egg sac.



Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Weevils ... ?

Not sure where to start with these little beasties - seen either in Forest Farm or from the path running through the Coryton Roundabout to Tongwynlais.

I must have records of at least 10 different looking weevils for which only 3 have been identified to species and 2 to family. The others are either 'anon brown weevil' or 'anon green weevil'. I would be grateful for any pointers but am resigned to increasing the images in the anon files.




Saturday, 27 May 2017

Berberis Sawfly ... ?

Saw this in a friend's garden a couple of days ago. Her 20 year old berberis bushes were ravaged last year by larvae that completely stripped the leaves leaving a very sad looking skeleton and I am wondering if this is an adult Berberis Sawfly. Going to pay a return visit tomorrow, if dry, to look for the offending larvae and see what can be done to relieve the problem.



Sunday, 21 May 2017

... and another beetle (Leiopus nebulosus)

A couple of hours strolling between Tongwynlais and Forest Farm saw various leaf beetles just about everywhere. Also a number of weevils which I'm trying to get 'round to looking at but the most interesting was this beastie, seen on the shrubs along the old canal. It is Leiopus nebulosus (Black-clouded Longhorn Beetle). Aderyn shows no records for Forest Farm, although there are records around Tongwynlais.


Thursday, 18 May 2017

More beetles

The beetles in Mark's recent post prompted me to blog about a couple of species I saw today in Cardiff. For a change, these are relatively easy to identify.

The first is this Garden Chafer, Phyllopertha horticola, which was flying around our garden in the sunshine this morning. This is actually the first time I've seen it in a garden!
 
The second is the nitidulid beetle Soronia grisea, which was sat on a gooseberry leaf in a small block of woodland at Hailey Park. There is another, less common, species in the same genus, Soronia punctatissima, but that species is apparently darker in colour and the sides of the pronotum (thorax) are a different shape.

Tap and Click

I finished work early, so went to the nearby Tir Mawr y Dderi Hir SSSI to check on something. I didn't have long and having done what I went for, I took a few grab shots of various beetles, moths and a lacehopper.

First of all the lacehopper. I think this may be Tachycixius pilosus. If so, it is a common species. It was particularly breezy where it was, so unfortunately, all the photos I took have some degree of blurring on them.






I'm on firmer ground with this moth: Ancylis badiana.



And this one: Nettle Tap (Anthophila fabriciana)



This click beetle was one of two I found on honesuckle leaves. No idea what it is.



A shy beetle, tucked into a deep fold in a hogweed leaf.



And to finish, a pair of copulating click beetles in an interesting pose beneath a leaf of Hedge Garlic.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Galling

I was bought a copy of the FSC's British Plant Galls (2nd edition), by Redfern & Shirley, as a birthday present in November 2015. Since then I have made good use of the book - not by specifically hunting for galls but just by keeping an eye out for them while out and about in the countryside, then bringing home samples for identification. I have to say it is one of the most useful guides I've bought in recent years and at £28 is excellent value for money.
This price tag might sound a bit steep, but the book runs to 432 pages and contains around 300 keys. These are organised by host plant genus and contain useful line drawings to help separate the species; there are also some colour plates of the more common species at the back of the book.

I have found that in most cases it is relatively easy to key out a gall to species level, assuming you have collected a specimen. It is sometimes necessary to open up the gall to view the contents, but in many cases the external appearance of the gall will suffice. However, some mite galls are very tricky to identify (gall mite taxonomy appears to need further study) and oaks and willows both support a huge number of gall species, which can make identification rather taxing.

Looking at galls has also given me an introduction to the fascinating biology of gall-causers, some of which, like rust fungi and aphids, have alternating generations on different hosts at different times of year. I was surprised to learn that the wasp responsible for the familiar oak apple, Biorhiza pallida, also has a non-sexual (agamic) generation on the roots of oak trees.
Oak apple gall
So far I have recorded 56 gall-causing species, comprising a mixture of mites, fungi, wasps, flies, moths and psyllid bugs. Nearly all of these are common and widespread species, though there has been at least one notable record - the ramshorn galls I found on oak at Hailey Park in Cardiff, caused by the wasp Andricus aries, appear to be only the second record for Wales and the first from the SEWBReC area.
Ramshorn gall
More recently, I was pleased to find some 'pocket plum' galls close to my home in Llandaff North. These form on the developing sloes of blackthorn and are caused by the fungus Taphrina pruni.
Pocket Plum
 I'd certainly recommend galling as a fruitful area of study.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Ramsons ... and what you can find on them

Into my local woods in Creigiau this morning in search of the Ramsons hoverfly, Portevinia maculata. Not only did I find several males of that, but also on Ramsons I found a stunning Birch Shieldbug and a Tipula vittata. All three are new species for me, and checking on Aderyn all three appear to be new for my home square ST08 as well. 😊

Portevinia maculata
Birch Shieldbug

Tipula vittata





Monday, 6 March 2017

unidentified aphid

These images are from August 2015. The wing venation suggests aphid but can anyone enlighten me as to species.  Comparison with images on-line shows some similarities with Hellebore aphids but I haven't found a winged green aphid with an orange thorax yet.



Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Gelis sp - wingless ichneumon wasp

I took this image in the flower bed last October. At the time I was trying to get pictures of a striking looking ichneumoninae and thought it was one of the red ants that I have in abundance in the garden so grabbed a record shot and carried on with what I was doing. Looking at it now, it doesn't seem to be an ant at all - head/eyes don't look right and there is no longer first segment on the antennae. No wings ... so I'm very puzzled.  Grateful if anyone can point me in the right direction.



This has now been confirmed by Gavin Broad on UK BWA Facebook Group as Gelis sp - one of the wingless ichneumonidae.  Aderyn shows no Welsh records for this family so is this a first Welsh record ?

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Spawning time in Llandaff North

I was surprised to see two clumps of frogspawn in the garden pond today - but I probably shouldn't have been as our resident frogs seem to be spawning earlier than they used to. We've been here 10 years and the last three years have seen the earliest spawning dates, with 2016 being the earliest (1st Feb). In earlier years the first dates ranged from 14th Feb (2013) to 27th Feb (2010 and 2012).



I'm not sure this relates to mild winters - we had several of those in the earlier years here, and January of this year was pretty chilly. Perhaps just part of a general trend to earlier spawning.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Campopleginae sp - ichneumonidae

Going through my records for July last year, I found some images of an 'anon' ichneumon wasp which I put on the UK Bees Wasps Ants Group on Facebook. Jaswinder Boparai ID'd this as a male Campopleginae sp and this was confirmed by Gavin Broad.



I can find no records of this on Aderyn, and there are very few on the NBN Gateway. Maybe this is because there are other specifically named records that are not picked up with a generic search.

Looking further back I found images for two separate days in July 2015 of female Campopleginae sp, again confirmed by Jaswinder so I shall be looking out for one in July this year.



EDIT: I have now found some records, but again not many, for Campoplex sp on NBN. This shows none in Wales, although Aderyn shows one record on Gower in 1925 for Campoplex faunus.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Garden visitors 15 January

Milder weather and some sunshine brought in the visitors on Sunday.

Watched a 'strange encounter' when a flower bug (Anthocoris nemorum ?) came face to face with a Calliphora sp fly but nothing happened - after saying hello they moved on and went their separate ways.


Apparently there are not many hoverflies around at the moment, but 4 came into the garden for a look around. A single Episyrphus balteatus, and three (2 female & 1 male) Meliscaeva sp.


In addition to the many Calliphora that were buzzing around, I also saw a number of other flies - an odd-looking fly with large femora  (I've put pictures of this on the UK Diptera Facebook Group to see if anyone can help with ID), a Sepsis sp, and  a couple of different Anthomyiidae sp (at least I think that's what they were).



Also saw one of the green leafhoppers and a  springtail. Not a bad hour in the garden!