Friday
Apr042014

Lichen

A Lecanora sp lichen, probably Lecanora chlarotea growing on an ash twig (Fraxinus sp).

This is a close-up:

Specimen taken in the field below Chazey Wood, near Caversham, UK, on 2014-03-30.

Thursday
Apr032014

Parasite Wasp from Leaf Mine

A parasite wasp that I found in a plastic tub containing a dock leaf with a leaf mine that had been left for a few months.  The wasp was particularly fragile and lost one of its legs and one of its antennae when I handled it (and the other antenna may have originally been longer than shown here).  I am not sure whether it is an ichneumon or a braconid wasp.

The wasp had apparently hatched out of one of the fly puparia that had been opened at one end:

Here is a close-up of the head of the wasp

And here is a side view of the body and legs:

The leaf mine that this hatched from was originally collected in Whiteknights Park, Reading, UK, on 2013-06-23.

Wednesday
Apr022014

Leaf Mines on Dock

From last summer: a leaf mine on a dock leaf (Rumex sp).  The yellowish larvae can be seen in the lower right. The black particles are are waste matter that the larvae have excreted.  The larvae are probably those of a species of fly, maybe a Pegomya sp (Diptera: Anthomyiidae).

This is the full dock plant:

I took one of the mined leaves home with me, put it in a plastic tub and left it for a few days to see what developed. 

After about a week I found the following larva in the tub:

And also several puparia like this:

Then I forgot all about the tub and didn't look again at it until several months later.  What I found then will be the subject of tomorrow's post.

First photo and specimens taken in Whiteknights Park, Reading, UK, on 2013-06-23.

Tuesday
Apr012014

Tachinid Fly

A Tachinid fly: Gymnocheta viridis (Diptera: Tachinidae).  Often seen sunning themselves on tree trunks in the early spring.

Specimen taken in the field below Chazey Wood, near Caversham, UK, on 2014-03-30.

Monday
Mar312014

Another Bee Fly

My first Bombylius discolor (Diptera, Bombyliidae), a male.

Compared to the commoner B. major, the body of this species is larger (15mm, excluding proboscis, as against 12mm) and has a black tail-end:

But the main distinguishing feature is the spotted wings:

This specimen also had a forked proboscis:

Specimen taken in the field below Chazey Wood, near Caversham, UK, on 2014-03-30.