A focus on the smaller side…

Over the last few weeks, it has been great to wander around the various wildlife-rich areas around Falmouth and spend a while looking at the smaller elements of nature…

Even when it is windy and dull, there is always something to look at, whether it be a bulky House Spider sheltering in a away in a hidden crevice, or perhaps a small Rove Beetle that scurries across the ground in front of you. Will Hawkes and I have had particular fun in finding a plethora of different Hoverfly and Shieldbug species lurking around the rich hedgerows and rank grassland patches nearby. We have almost encountered 10 species of the latter, whilst identifying the former is proving a little more tricky in some instances. It is great to find and observe the various forms of arthropods whilst the weather holds up and many are still actually around (not looking forward to the depths of winter!).

The spiders have been particularly entertaining, demonstrating a surprising diversity of prey items wrapped in neat packages within the webs of the Orb-weaving Spiders (Araneus diadematus). Anything from miniature midges to shieldbugs, grasshoppers, moths and even butterflies have been unfortunate enough to meet their end in these delicate structures- a few morning ago I had a great time photographing the stunning webs down at the Bissoe Valley with fellow photographer Max Thompson (see below).

Without waffling on too much, you can check out a bit of the invert diversity that we have encountered over the last week or two, and I shall try and give a bit of a caption for each 🙂

A couple of shots of the amazing webs of the Orb-weaving Spiders (mostly Araneus diadematus). A few mornings ago, I was at a nearby site in the Bissoe Valley and had the pleasure of photographing these stunning webs as the rising sun gave a delicate back-lighting and the light dew highlighted the strands

This little arachnid is a Zebra Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus), a member of the Salticidae family. These species have incredibly adept eyesight, hunting primarily with the use of this sense. They move with a jerky motion over surfaces, ‘hopping’ or jumping using their hydraulically-powered legs

One of the many hoverfly species encountered recently- what appears to be Sericomyia silentis

A Knot-Grass Caterpillar, found in the garden on campus
Another caterpillar, this time a massive species that somehow turned up in a mist net at Nanjizal! An Eyed Hawkmoth
Some moth stuff…
I have been running my small heath trap fairly consistently outside the caravans for the last few weeks, but the catches have largely been quite low in both diversity and number. I think this is primarily due to the large moon, as last night saw over 20 moths in the trap, including some smart species like Beaded Chestnut, Autumnal Rustic, Feathered Ranunculus and Pink-barred Sallow. I am looking forward to a few more autumn moths in the coming week, especially with the use of a couple of moth traps on Uni campus grounds…
Green Carpets have been quite regular in the trap, and very welcome too!

A Copper Underwing of either of the two species- it looks to be Copper Underwing after examination of labial palps, underwings and forewing pattern, but I remain unconvinced that the two species (Svensson’s Copper U vs. Copper U) can be identified on external features alone

Pink-barred Sallow- a classic autumnal moth

It has been great to see the odd Hummingbird Hawkmoth dotted around, especially this individual on campus a few days ago

Gorse Shieldbug (Piezodorus lituratus)

And now for a few ‘macro’-centred images that I have taken over the last week or two (some are intentionally abstract…)

Oxeye Daisy at sunrise

Orb-weaving Spider’s web 

A backlit Moss shot: Mnium hornum

Fungi of some sort- ink-caps?

Sycamore ‘keys’

Fern reflections

Backlit ferns in the early morning light

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