Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Bright mite

After my interesting beetle, of which more in a mo, here is a mite or possibly a mini-spider which scuttled across a patch of soil which I was tilling with our almost equally tiny granddaughter for her coming sunflower patch.

It was amazingly red, more so than my efforts with our new and still not wholly familiar camera show. Identifications much appreciated as ever, though I shall do some Googling too, under the tag of 'bright red mite spider'.

Talking of identifications, it was very helpful to have Ben Sale's suggestion for my pointy-bottomed beetle on Comments under the last post. He suggests a member of the Tenebrionidae - probably a Darkling Beetle of some kind. I'm not (yet) sure whether this confirms or crosses with the following excellent email observation from my highly skilled entomological relative Martin Skirrow, who traps at a beautiful spot where the three lovely counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire meet.

He writes:  I am pretty sure your beetle (April 1st blog) is a Churchyard Beetle Blaps mucronata. Its shape is particularly characteristic. I quote from Michael Chinery's excellent Pocket Guide on insects of Britain and Western Europe:
 "A flightless, ground-living beetle of caves, cellars, stables, and other damp dark places. Strongly nocturnal, like most members of the family. Scavenges on vegetable matter. Emits foul smell when alarmed."
So I wonder whether you really did smell a 'rat'!

Many thanks both and I will continue to sleuth.  Meanwhile, here's to the glorious weather which has arrived, and the first blaze of butterflies of 2015.  So far, I have seen many Brimstones, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks. I will soon get my photographic act together and hope to have the moth trap lit regularly from next week.


Trent Duval said...

Hi Martin
Looks like you have yourself a Velvet Mite there.
Check it out on this link ...

Ray Walton said...

Hello Martin
I agree with Trent; a Velvet Mite
Nice to have the sun on our backs, and here's to another good mothing season.

MartinWainwright said...

Many thanks both - I much appreciate your clearing that up. It was a wonderfully vivid red, although so small. Good to hear from you, Ray. I've finally sorted out my trap and should be in action very shortly. Good luck to you meanwhile. All warm wishes M