Palmate newt juvenile – Lissotriton helveticus (St Davids)


Palmate Newts look very similar to Smooth Newts but they have more of a preference for shallow ponds on acidic soils. They’re patchily distributed and found on heathland in the south and west and on moorland and bogs in the north; they’re quite common in Scotland, Wales and southern England but absent from much of central England. Palmate Newts can tolerate drier conditions than Smooth Newts and so can be found further from water.

Identification Adults up to 9 cm in length. Smooth skin that is brown, green or grey.Yellow belly, often with dark spots. Unspotted pink or yellow throat (unlike Smooth Newts, which have spotted throats). During the breeding season males develop a filament at the tip of their tail and black webbing on their back feet.
Distribution Native species. Distribution across the UK is widespread but patchy: common in Scotland, Wales and southern England but absent from much of central England and Ireland.Found across western Europe.Numbers thought to be declining due to loss of habitat.
Ecology Preferred habitat is heathland, moorland and bogland. Preference for shallow ponds in acidic soils.Active during dawn and dusk.Feed on a variety invertebrate species.Very difficult to distinguish Palmate Newt eggs from Smooth Newt eggs. Greyish-brown or dirty white eggs surrounded by a transparent jelly capsule that is about 3 mm across. Eggs deposited individually on leaves of aquatic plants.Very difficult to distinguish Palmate Newt larvae (tadpoles) from Smooth Newt larvae. Light beige or brown, sometimes with fine black speckling. Larvae reach 30 – 40mm before metamorphosis.
Predators and other threats Habitat loss.

A year in the life…Spring

Adult newts emerge from their overwintering sites in early spring and head to a pond to breed. Males perform an elaborate courtship dance before the eggs are laid. Individual eggs are laid and wrapped up in the leaves of pond plants. At this time of year adult newts spend quite a lot of time in the water and will hunt frog tadpoles. Depending on local weather conditions, two to four weeks later larvae (sometimes called newt tadpoles) will hatch out. The larvae have feathery gills around the head, distinguishing them from frog and toad tadpoles. A couple of months after they hatch the larvae start to grow their front legs (again, different from frogs and toads), followed by the back legs.


When they have absorbed their gills, they leave the water as newtlets (or efts), around August.


Autumn is spent preparing for winter. Newts feed on various invertebrates.


Palmate Newts spend the winter sheltering under rocks, in compost heaps or buried down in mud. They don’t hibernate as such, and may take advantage of milder patches of weather to come out and forage.

– See more at:

– See more at:


This is a National trust SSSI marshland which has become over grown so they have put in 5 Buffaloes to graze the boggy marsh land and bring it back into shape. It is this area I found several Juvenile newts.


Chrysolina banksi (St Davids)

Adults can be found on their hostplants which are Black Horehound (Ballota nigra) and Narrow-leaved Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

Chrysolina is a large genus of leaf beetles in the subfamily Chrysomelinae. The species Chrysolina cerealis and C. graminis are protected in the United Kingdom

Sorry there is little information on this beetle.

Bombus (Psithyrus) barbutellus-St Davids

This species is distributed widely throughout most of the area covered by this Atlas, but is rarely common. It is widespread in Europe; middle and northern latitudes of Asia, and eastwards to Mongolia (Løken 1973).

Status (in Britain only)
This bee is not regarded as being scarce or threatened.

This cuckoo-bee occurs in a wide variety of habitats.

Flight period
Over-wintered females can be found from late April onwards, males and new females in July to September.

Pollen collected
As this bee is parasitic it does not collect pollen, although females eat pollen in order to develop their ovaries. Foraging for pollen for the nest is carried out by the host workers.

Nesting biology
During spring the over-wintered, fertilised female B. barbutellus searches for a small nest of the host bumblebee, B. hortorum. It enters the nest and eventually dominates, or kills the host queen. The parasite female then lays eggs which will develop into either males or females of B. barbutellus. All foraging and nest duties are carried out by the host workers. It is likely that this species will also attack B. ruderatus.

Flowers visited
Visits are made to a wide variety of flowers.

Pine ladybird (Exochomus 4-pustulatus) St Davids

When I iRecorded this Pine Ladybird it was classed as out of area so its the first recorded sighting of it in St Davids.

Size: 3 – 4.5mm
Basic colour: black
Pattern colour: red spots
Number of spots: 2-4
Spot fusions: none
Melanic (black) form: N/A

Pronotum: black
Leg colour: black
Habitat: trees
Host plant: needled conifers, sallows and willows
Overwintering: in leaf litter, foliage and bark crevices of evergreen trees and shrubs
Food: coccids

Other notes: Round in shape with a pronounced rim around the margin of the wing cases. The spots at the outer front margin of the wing cases are comma-shaped.

Red Wasp -Vespula rufa (St Davids)


A very widespread species though not usually reaching the abundance of species like Common and German Wasps. It occurs in a wide variety of habitats, but especially areas with tall grassland, tall herb and scattered scrub.

Nesting occurs in various locations, but perhaps especially at the base of dense grass tussocks. This is a short-faced wasp, females usually with an anchor-like face marking (as in V. vulgaris). The abdominal markings are highly variable, but usually display some red patches on the first and second segments.

The long-faced Norwegian Wasp Dolichovespula norwegica is the only other social wasp with red markings on tergite 2, but these take a different form. But beware the Cuckoo Wasp Vespula austriaca (the social parasite of the Red Wasp) which can resemble the Red in general pattern, though it never has any red (though some rufa specimens with little red can look very similar to austriaca). The facial markings are very different, with austriaca usually having 3 small black spots rather then the anchor mark of rufa. V. austriaca also has long black hairs on the hind tibiae and the corners of the clypeus with more acute, pointed angles….BWARS


Queen Red wasp post click here