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Monday, 4 May 2015

A day at the Botanics

May Bank Holiday is always fun for our family at NBGW, and now that Bea and Johnny are a bit older we were able to look at insects as well as the excellent juggler/magician, musicians etc.  We started with Bea spotting Orange-tip eggs, and then my first 2015 Micropterix calthella and Adela rufimitrella.  

Tell-tale pale patches on a Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) leaf revealed a larval case of Coleophora paripennella, which has only 9 previous Carms records, 8 of them from Pembrey.  I hope others will look out for this species, but beware that a couple of other Coleophora also feed on Knapweed so please photograph the case.

Hoverflies provided the rarest species of the day: the fantastic red-banded Brachypalpoides lentus, a scarce deadwood species that I have only seen once before (in Oxfordshire 15 years ago) and which has only a handful of previous Carms records.  A Dasysyrphus venustus was also a nice surprise, but a male Sphaerophoria with an ambiguous lateral band was best left unidentified without dissection.  I think/hope the beetle Malachius bipustulatus is distinctive, but I'm not 100% sure.

Finally, this large-headed bee looked interesting and distinctive, but I'm totally clueless on Hymenoptera.  Perhaps someone can ID it, at least to family.


  1. Ooh nice, I've never seen Brachypalpoides. I finally caught up with Rhingia rostrata in Cornwall over the BH weekend, as well as the Dasysyrphus you mention.

    I'm clueless on hymenoptera too!

  2. Interesting as always, Sam with valued `moth-tips`. I suggest that your bee is a Chelostoma sp. The ones I collected in the past proved to be C. florisomne (det by an aculeate specialist). Brachypalpoides is indeed a` thin on the ground` hoverfly - I had it a very few times (as did others) at places such as Dinefwr Deer Park (where it was noted on elder blossom), Garnant (nr Ammanford) and S of New Mill in the SW of the county, so it is widespread, if very scarce.