Sunday, 19 July 2009

Insects

Two small insects today, one from our garden and the other from Shipley Park. To begin, a Ladybird. an enormous group of insects numbering about 5,000 species world wide. This particular little chap is a 7-Spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata).
The most common of our native Ladybirds, living almost anywhere it can find food - aphids. The scientific name proves the common name, 7-Spot 'septem - punctata'. There are dozens of different Ladybirds in Britain including 2-Spot, 7-Spot, 10-Spot, Cream-Spot, Harlequin, Kidney-Spot, 11-Spot, 14-Spot, Water Ladybird, Orange Ladybird, etc, etc, etc. They are all voracious eaters of aphids and are therefore, a great help to gardeners.
Next, a butterfly species which is easy to overlook due to it's diminutive size and rather drab colouration. A Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris).
This one was feeding on nectar from a red clover. The newly emerged caterpillars of this species, begin life by eating their egg case and then get to work on grasses. They especially like Yorkshire Fog, Timothy and Meadow Foxtail grass leaves. The adult butterfly, like most Skippers hold their fore wings at an angle to the hind wings rather than keeping them flat like other butterflies.
Small Skippers are attracted (like many other insect species) to purple and red coloured flowers. Which explains why this one was so interested in the Red Clover!
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