Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Tick box

Yesterday was caterpillar today. Today it's ticks. To be accurate, one tick, which fastened itself to the shapely leg of one of our Lake District band, Margaret McGowan, an educational adviser whose website will shortly be up and running on  www.educationadviceonline.co.uk. It latched on to her halfway up Scafell via Cam Spout where the more muscular half of the group went adventuring. Penny and I and a couple of the others meanwhile perambulated round Eel, Stoney and Burnmoor tarns below Slight Side and found an enormous number of Fox moth caterpillars, plus plenty of the sleek, stripey ones you see below.

They appear to have been designed by the manufacturers of Hi-Viz vests which doesn't help them to hide but probably puts off predatory birds. I remember finding these as a boy in bracken on the Deer Hill at Bolton Abbey and noting how the younger ones had the comely livery of yellow with British Racing Green, the latter changing to brown in those close to pupation.

I've done a quick check on the net to see what they are but without success, and have to get my boots on now. Will try harder later.
The tick btw is very dead, the result of immersion in a cup of boiling water. I'm not going to try, but I imagine that it might test like an extremely tiny shrimp. It is the size of a pinhead.


worm said...

Hi Martin! Apologies for being so quiet, but I've been off raving in Ibiza!!! saw some lovely moths and catydids.

Regarding the mysterious caterpillar above, I seem to be always wrong in my divinations, but I shall tentatively declare it as belonging to a Broom Moth!

MartinWainwright said...

excellent work, Worm. I think you are right. Coincidentally, with today's subject being mostly ticks, we have been walking alongside the River Mite. No caterpillars, but other discoveries. More tomorrow. All v best M

Exiled To A Pompous Land said...

As a long time UK hiker and insect photographer, living now in Virginia USA has it's ups and downs.

Ups are the sheer bloody range and numbers of bugs here. The down side is that apparently 90% of them are blasted ticks! So from May through October just walking through the grass will pick you up half a dozen little passengers. Very irritating to have to search yourself after every day out. But if you miss one then you have what I experienced a couple of years ago. That is sitting in the office Monday morning and feeling a sharp pain in the pants. Going to the loo revealled one of the little buggers affixed to my left testicle.

MartinWainwright said...

Eeek! Actually I found that I had one, yesterday, perilously close to the spot where yours was attached. I like the nam, btw. Will now head for your blog. All v best


Exiled To A Pompous Land said...

You are? Ah the I shall have to put something in my blog shan't I? So far it's merely a name used to comment on other blogs. And I can't claim credit for the name, its largely due the Mr.Key at Hooting Yard

But a blog at least of the bugs over here might be vaguely interesting.

A few Virginia bugs are here:


Bug Guide is a marvellous site but only if you are here in the U S of A.

I should have said not just a UK exile but a Yorkshieman to boot.

MartinWainwright said...

I didn't know you could do that - anyway, hope you get a Virginia bugs one going - and thanks for the weblink. What part of Yorkshire? The sun is blazing down on your home county at the mo - we're having an Indian summer though not, I fear, for much longer. All v best again M

Exiled To A Pompous Land said...

Most of my life spent was very close to you there in Leeds. Born Pudsey, lived in Knaresborough and then Harrogate for many years until my initial exile took me to Glocestershire.
I've always regarded Leeds as my cultural home though. From a punk at the F Club to an improvisor at the Termite Club and much between. Its 80F here again today. Much of yesterday was spent turning the front 'yard' into a halloween graveyard and getting bitten my mosquitos. In October!