Insects Braving the Cold

It’s 5-6 Centigrade, but surprisingly there are still some insects about. The first is a rather pretty mirid bug - Pantilius tunicatus (#367) - that dropped in via my window last week. Recognisable by its reddish-above, bright green-below colours, this species is a late season bug, seen mostly in September-October, that prefers hazel, alder & birch trees. Common Drone Fly (# 379, Eristalis tenax) is a species which can also be seen all year round. It’s a common enough insect, so not sure how it took me so long to record it. This one was taking advantage of midday sunshine for a bit of sunbathing on a south-facing wall. Finally this lacewing popped up out of some vegetation I was tidying. I think it’s a Common Green Lacewing (#267, Chrysoperla carnea), same as many I found during the summer (though the dark spots down the side are a bit curious). This species hibernates over the winter, changing its colour to brown so as not to be quite so conspicuous to predators.

300 Species in my Backyard in 2 months

More or less on the 2 month mark, I added a handful of species to achieve a total of 300 species in the microEden backyard.  The fennel seems to be the most attractive pollen source for flies, hoverflies and wasps,  The population of wasps is really taking off right now, with them all around us as soon as we sit outside for a meal.

The new species in the last couple of days include #297 common orange legionnaire fly, #298 pied hoverfly and #300 a solitary bee Ectemnius continuus.  The solitary bee is a predator, digging a nest hole in wood and taking flies, etc back for its larvae - it has strong looking legs, perhaps for all that digging.  On the fennel though it was more interested in the flowers than any of its fellow insects.