Saturday, 2 November 2013

Lord of the flies

I put the trap on top of the compost heap last night in the wild hope of attracting a passing Death's Head Hawk Moth like the one which flew into a lighted office in Witney in September. No such luck needless to say; instead, the eggboxes were predictably full of flies.

These varied from the gangly supermodel of a Crane Fly (I think - but Update: Toni in comments thinks differently, and correctly I reckon, that this is an ichneumon fly, a noted predator on caterpillars in which it lays its eggs so that its young can munch their way out, yuck. Toni has an excellent website here with a fascinating pic of a lacewing larva as per the comment below. Many thanks T) at the top via the delicate green lacewing (I also think) to the myriad of the little creatures dwarfed by a rather tatty micro in the third picture. Today is a bit of a fly day here; we are having a bonfire tonight and the guy will be not the brave Yorkshireman, Mr Fawkes, but a model of a Blandford Fly, a very nasty little bug which has spread from Blandford Forum in Dorset to these parts.

It has two characteristics apart from an extremely unpleasant bite: it likes clean river water, hence its spread, and the female needs to have a blood meal before mating. The natural world is overflowing with metaphors for angry columnists and other writers, and here is another one for them.

In the world of moths, I can offer you only this worn but still perky (judging by the gleam in its eye) Common Marbled Carpet and an interesting Black Rustic with a deformed left wing. The Black Rustic which came on Wednesday night had the same feature. I left it sleeping in the luxury pink eggbox by our front door, about 50m from the compost heap, but I think that it must be the same moth. Other overnighters amounted to one Sprawler, two Feathered Thorns and a single November Moth.


Toni said...

I *think* your 1st photo is an ichneumon wasp rather than a crane fly... Despite the name it is I believe a fly rather than a wasp. We've had a few over the year, some with a body 2.5cm long and a glorious red colour.

BTW, have you seen the lacewing larva? They look like little crocodiles albeit with large pincers at the front - we had a couple in our trap which taxed our identification skills ( page down a little...). Once we knew what they were we found photos all over the place. It seems you can buy them for aphid control!
Yours, with December Moth envy.....

MartinWainwright said...

Thanks so much - I'll update and also add a link to your excellent blog - the lacewing larva is marvellous. I shall watch for one closely.

Hope the December Moths are soon down your way in their fur coats

all warmest wishes