Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Beetle

Our walk to Straw's Bridge this morning, was dominated by the excitement of discovering a 'new' species.  As we walked home, my attention was drawn to the many Angelica plants and their large inflorescences.  These flower heads attract many insects from wasps to butterflies, bees to hoverflies, but I had never seen a Spotted Longhorn Beetle (Rutpela maculata) before.
At a little under one inch long, it made an impressive sight as it moved over the flower head, searching for pollen, it's main food source.  There are several forms of this beetle, each with slightly different patterns of yellow and black on the elytra, or wing cases.  They also seem to have many different scientific genus names too including Rutpela, Leptura and Strangalia.  All have the long antennae from which the beetle gets its common name.
Closer to home and another insect caught my eye.  This time, it was a species well known to me, but no less interesting.  a Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album).  With its typical, ragged-looking outline, it looks like it has been in a few battles, but the wings are naturally that shape.  On the underside of the wings, a small comma-shaped mark gives the butterfly its name.
Not being a great fan of 'creepy-crawlies', Malcolm was far more impressed by the Comma than he was by the Longhorn Beetle, but the beetle at least was new 'tick' for my life list.
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