Saturday, April 16, 2005

Of Cuckoo Bumblebees and other things

A rare outing to the Brecks of Norfolk to see the late neolithic flint mines of Grimes Graves and some old woodland haunts. We also dropped into Weeting Castle, which, while not much of a castle, was home to several interesting insects.

Having newly acquired an excellent Bumblebee ID guide I was keen to try it out and soon came across this, my first Cuckoo Bumblebee. It is a cuckoo (or "obligate social inquiline" as one paper put it!) in the nests of Bombus pratorum.

Bombus sylvestris

Alex was doing a good job of finding things. This caterpillar was hidden under a small piece of stone. It feeds on lichen, which was plentiful on the ruins.

Marbled Beauty (Cryphia domestica)

This larva proved tricky to pin down, but thanks to Nick Greatorex-Davies and Colin Welch we have narrowed it down to a Soldier beetle (Cantharidae), probably in the genus Cantharis.

Soldier beetle (Cantharidae)

Another of Alex's finds was this small shieldbug, which is apparently quite hard to locate.

Pied Shieldbug (Sehirus bicolor)

Finally here is a rather poor shot of a Fox Moth larva. These are easy to find at this time of year as the fully fed caterpillars, that have hibernated through the winter emerge and set off to find somewhere to pupate.

Fox Moth (Macrothylacia rubi)

Nikon CP995

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