Saturday, September 23, 2006

A variety of bugs

This bee [Bombus hortorum , Small Garden Bumblebee think] has a bald patch on its thorax. This type of bee has a very long tongue which means it can choose flowers with more complex arrangements of petals which other bees can't harvest from , but it also means they lose hairs in the process.Greenbottles, Phaenicia sericata are my favourite blow flies , if its possible to have a favourite blowfly without being Renfield from Bram Stoker's book, Dracula.

However, I just like their metallic green bodies and how well they reflect their surroundings, I don't actually eat them.

One of the greenbottle's brethern but taken from underneath the leaf. I was impressed with how well the silhouette showed through, with even the wing outlines visible.
A small, slightly faded looking Painted Lady butterfly Vanessa cardui
Some of these butterflies hibernate in the 'south' during the winter - I'm not sure if we are far enough south though.
This is probably a mallow skipper Carcharodus alceae-it seemed to prefer being in awkward shady places between plants, which wasn't helpful from my point of view.
This is not an indistinct bird but snatched photo of a Hummingbird hawk moth Macroglossum stellarum.
It is hovering beside the flowerheads and feeding on nectar using its long tongue. It looks uncannily like a hummingbird [which are not native to Europe]

They fly mainly by day in bright sunlight. Their hovering wingbeats make a thrumming noise that reminded me of a toy windmill whierring in the wind [I think these are called pinwheels in the US] . Apparently hummingbird hawk moths have been studied extensively and found have a good memory and the ability to learn to distinguish colours.

They are supposed to be abundant in the Mediterranean region but I don't recall ever seeing one before - and they are quite large and distinctive so I think I would have noticed.

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5 comments:

natural attrill said...

That's a good shot through the leaf, and I like the photo above it, the metalic green body, as you said, it is so clear against the rich yellow.
P.

angela said...

I had one of the hummingbird hawk moths in the house last week. I'm glad to put a name on it.
Angela

Atyllah said...

Small Garden Bumblebee is just stunning!

Derek said...

I really love your photographs. Some of them look like prize-winners to me. My brother-in-law is a pro. photographer (mostly birds). Some he has won prizes with and he's often off to Africa to get shots for agents. Thanks for message in my blog. Have you tried espares for a dish-washer door? It might be easier to fix than techies let on. I would certainly see if you can the old one off first (especially if its broken anway) - that may give you confidence to fit a new one if you can get one reasonably priced. Just an idea.. Good luck.. Derek

Maggie said...

Hello there, nice to see your photo of the hummingbird hawk moth. I've got a short video up, you can find a link on my blog if you're interested:
http://liverpool-leftovers.blogspot.com/2006/09/hummingbird-hawk-moth.html

Must admit I'm longing for Spring, it's very grey wet and miserable here in Liverpool at the mo!