Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Mini Beasts

Several 'mini beasts' caught our eye as we walked around the Lakes of Straw's Bridge this morning.  Among the most beautiful was one of the hundreds of Common Blue Damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum).
Seen here resting on a grass stalk with the pinkish flowers of a Red Bartsia plant in the background.  It seems that wherever you go at the moment, you are accompanied by dozens of Damselflies flitting about ahead of you.
A little further on and the Ragwort plants were providing a meal for several Cinnabar Moth Larvae (Tyria jacobaeae).
The black and yellow stripes reveal a rather unpalatable secret.  As it eats the Ragwort, it ingests and stores the plant's poisonous alkaloids in it's own body.  Most birds therefore, think twice about eating the fat caterpillars.  The exception to this rule are Cuckoos who seem immune to the poisons and eat these grubs with relish.
Lastly a small, red and black beetle seen scurrying about on another grass stalk.  This is a Soldier Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva). 
These handsome little beetles live a double life.  As larvae, they live in the soil and eat other small insects as well as snails.  When mature, the adults leave the soil and climb up to feed on insects among the flowers and foliage of especially those plants belonging to the carrot family and thistles.
Post a Comment