Friday
Nov062009

Crab Spider with Hoverfly

A white crab spider, Misumena vatia (Araneae: Thomisidae) with an ambush victim, hoverfly Cheilosia illustrata (Diptera: Syrphidae).  For more on M. vatia see here; for more on C. illustrata see here.  The flowers are hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium).

Photo taken in Whiteknights Park, Reading University grounds, Reading, UK on 2009-06-26.

Thursday
Nov052009

Hoverfly on Hogweed

When I first saw this, I thought that it must be a bee, but when I got home and looked it up, it turned out to be a hoverfly: Cheilosia illustrata (Diptera: Syrphidae).  The flowers it is feeding on are hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium).

Photos taken in Whiteknights Park, Reading University grounds, Reading, UK, on 2009-06-19.

Wednesday
Nov042009

Red Kite over Broad Street, Reading

I was walking along Broad Street, Reading at lunch time today when a red kite flew out from over Marks and Spencer's.  I slowed my pace so as not to bump into anyone, and watched while it drifted off at roof-top level in the direction of the Oracle shopping centre.  The black, brown and white markings on the underside of its wings were clearly visible.

This is not the first time I have seen one of these birds from Broad Street.   See here for details.

Wednesday
Nov042009

Hoverfly on Sneezewort

A female Sphaerophoria sp (Diptera: Syrphidae) feeding on sneezewort (Achillea ptarmica).

Photo taken in Whiteknights Park, Reading University grounds, Reading, UK, on 2009-08-16.

Tuesday
Nov032009

Black Chalcid Wasp

This afternoon I came across this black chalcid wasp on the underside of an oak leaf.  I think it is probably Sycophila biguttata (Hymenoptea Eurytomidae) based on comparison with photos here and here.  The black bar visible across the folded wings is actually formed by two black spots, one on each wing.  Although I did see this specimen crawl over the smooth spangle gall visible in the top left of the above photo, Neuroterus albipes, the Cynipid wasp that causes smooth spangle galls, is not listed as one of the species parasitized by Sycophila biguttata.  Maybe the above association was just a coincidence.

This individual was a female; you can make out a short ovipositor in the following photo:

Photos taken in Whiteknights Park, Reading University grounds, Reading, Uk, on 2009-11-02.