Thursday, 9 July 2015

Snake!

Don't worry, this blog post does not have anything remotely reptilian about it. The snake referenced in the title is the name of a rather intriguing little insect called a Snake Fly (Raphidia notata).
On our walk this morning, we stopped for coffee at the Mapperley Reservoir picnic area and this little charmer, was found already occupying our bench when we arrived - so we shared the seat.
Snake Flies are supposed to be fairly common in the British Isles, but this is the first I have ever seen - so another new 'tick' for the list. About an inch long, they feed on aphids, scale insects and a host of other garden pests, so they are a good friend to the gardeners among us.  There are four species of Snake Fly in the UK, three occurring on conifer trees, and this one which prefers Oaks. This one turned out to be a female as it has a long ovipositor or egg-laying tube, looking like a sharp tail sticking out of its abdomen.
Despite Malcolm's suggestion that I should squash it, we left her still sitting on the bench when we continued on our walk.
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