Freshers Week – Invertebrate life

It has been superb to wander around hedgerows and areas of scrub grassland and discovery a plethora of interesting bugs, flies, moths, spiders beetles and various other invertebrates! (a typical Freshers week activity…). Will Hawkes and I (Will is a great photographer and naturalist from Llangollen, who is studying a similar course to me) have managed to crack down on a really cool variety of species, with the help of my sister and also Ellie Mahew.  Although the insect life back home on Bardsey is good at times, it is certainly very limited in its diversity, so coming to the mainland and seeing so many different species is really cool! It has been great fun learning about them and trying to track down the various IDs…I have uploaded a few images below which give a good selection of our discoveries…

 This has been one of the biggest highlights for me…a (very small) male Wasp Spider! I have always wanted to see one of these striking and beautiful arachnids, and really didn’t expect to see one today as we were walking along the coastal path to Maenporth- well done Rachel! The females of this species are much larger than males, having swollen abdomens of lengths over 1cm with the stunning black, white and yellow stripes as in this one

 There seem to be an awful lot of Orb-weaving Spiders around, with hundreds of individuals lining all of the lanes and scrub hedgerows, varying enormously in size and colouration. Most of them appear to Garden Spiders (Araneus diadematus). We have seen a large variety of prey items strung out in their perfect orb webs, including Grasshoppers, Parasitic Wasps, small micro moths and many different fly species
One of the equally most numerous families seemingly plastered along every bramble hedgerow is that of the Shieldbugs: Hemiptera. The Common Green Shield-bug seems to be the most common at the moment, but there have also been large numbers of the Dock Bug on its foodplant too…
Hairy Shield Bug (Dolycoris baccarum)

 Both of the above are Dock Bugs (Coreus marginatus), but the lower individual is a late instar, showing a different colour and shape to the adult on top
Common Green Shield-bug (Palomena prasina)
Red-legged Shield-bug (Pentatoma rufipes)
Speckled Woods have been nice to see too, as we rarely get this shy woodland-dwelling butterflies over onto the island

 Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus)

Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus)

This cool caterpillar was hiding in the bracken alongside the path today, doing its best to blend in- and it did that rather well! This one will become a Dot Moth after pupating

One of the smaller things we’ve found, and what initially looked like a mini Devil’s Coach-horse Beetle; it is a Rove Beetle (Paederus littoralis), 


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