Another type of biting Deerfly again caught on the back of my neck !!
Length 8 to 10.5 mm. A stoutly-built insect. The patterning may vary slightly but there are always black lobes on the second abdominal segment. There are other similar species and care needs to be taken with identification.
It’s preferred habitat is damp floodplain meadows, it will use other moist areas and woodland, particularly if there is mud or soft wet ground close by.
When to see it
May to September.
The adults can give humans a painful bite, and the females suck the blood of grazing animals, whilst males feed on flower pollen. The larvae feed upon organic matter in damp soils, and are termed hydrobionts in that they inhabit areas of high water content.
Fairly frequent and widespread in Britain.
Yet another first for me since specifically going out to look for one type of bee.
Description and notes
Of the three species of Macropis which occur in western Europe, only one, M. europaea, is found in Britain. This species is unique in this country for having females which provision their nests with fatty floral oils, in addition to pollen.
Status (in Britain only)
Listed as Rare (RDB3) in Shirt (1987), and as Nationally Notable (Na) in Falk (1991). Work for this Atlas suggests that its status should be reviewed.
Wetland sites supporting the main forage plant, yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris). Hence this bee is to be found in fens, bogs and alongside rivers and canals.
Univoltine; mid July to early September, the flight period being very closely synchronised with the flowering of the main host plant.
Nest burrows are excavated in the soil, generally in banks or slopes. The burrow entrances are usually well concealed by overhanging vegetation and are thus rarely observed Nests normally occur in loose aggregations (M Edwards and S Falk, pers. comm.). Nests have been described by both Malyshev (1929) and Phipps (1948) (both as M. labiata). These authors noted that the cells were lined with a yellowish wax-like, waterproof substance which may have been derived from yellow loosestrife floral oil. Larvae and pupae have been described by Rozen & McGinley (1974).
In addition to the forage species listed above, the bee has been observed visiting (as nectar sources) bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.), tormentil (Potentilla erecta), agrimony (Agrimonia sp.), great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum), hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), mint (Mentha sp.), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense), knapweed (Centaurea sp.), rough hawkbit (Leontodon hispidum), sow-thistle (Sonchus sp.), water chickweed (Myosoton aquaticum) and water-plantain (Alisma lanceolata)…BWARS
you can’t imagine the amount of bird poops I’ve looked at thinking it was one of these beetles , which proves its bird poop camouflage works
This is truly an odd looking creature and could hardly be confused with anything else. The mix of dark and light areas on the elytra may vary, but the general appearance does not – the ‘face’ is always lighter due to a covering of pale hairs. Also known as the Cramp-ball Fungus Weevil.
When to see it
June and July are peak times for the adult.
The larvae develop inside the black fungus known as King Alfred’s Cakes or Cramp Balls (Daldinia concentrica).
It is not quite as scarce as its common name would suggest. British records come mainly from England around a line from the Humber to the Severn.
This one bit me on the back of my neck
One of our two frequent deerflies and with a strongly developed taste for human blood. It can occur in a variety of habitats and the predatory larvae live in wet mud and debris at the edges of streams and pools. The females have a characteristic splayed v-shaped marking on tergite 2. Males have the abdomen almost entirely black, though tergite 2 is narrowly orange at its sides; the male mid tibiae are normally entirely black… Steve Falk
A slightly damaged beetle but still active.
This is a large beetle reaching up to 25 mm in length and is a clumsy flier. The colour is variable from a uniform dull yellow through to almost black.
It is to be found around the margins of wooded areas, where the adult beetles frequent flowers and shrubs
When to see it
Mainly in the months of May and June.
The larvae develop in the damaged timber of diseased deciduous trees.
This species is common over much of England.
Very local but widely distributed in southern Britain, the range extending northwards to Nottinghamshire (Carr, 1935) and South Lincolnshire. In Wales, known only from Glamorgan. Also reported from Guernsey and the Channel Islands. There are no records from Ireland. Widespread in the Palaearctic, from southern Sweden south to Morocco, and eastwards to Israel, Pakistan and Mongolia (Ebmer, 1988).
Status (in Britain only)
Classified by Falk (1991) as a Notable B species [now known as Nationally Scarce (Nb)].
Mainly encountered on calcareous grassland, coastal landslips and cliffs.
Females are active from early April to at least August. Males emerge later than those of most other British halictines, being found from August to mid October, with a peak in late September. As a result, this sex is not represented in most collections as collectors have generally terminated their field work before the males appear. Interestingly, on April 8th, 1993, both sexes were found commonly at Tizi ‘n Tichka, one of the passes (2100m.) in the Moroccan High Atlas (G R Else and S P M Roberts, pers. obs.). The ground there is often covered by snow earlier in the spring. It would seem that the males overwinter as adults in this site, a habit unknown in northern Europe.
Nest burrows are rarely found, suggesting they often occur singly and are obscured by low vegetation. However, a huge, extended aggregation of about a thousand burrows was observed recently along about a half mile of the cutting of an abandoned railway line at Reach, Devils Dyke, in Cambridgeshire (J P Field, pers. comm.). The bee is presumed, on available evidence, to be a solitary species, rather than a eusocial one.
Sea campion (Silene uniflora), bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.), blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), clover (Trifolium sp.), ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea), knapweed (Centaurea spp.) and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Males have been collected from knapweed and field scabious (Knautia arvensis).
The bee Sphecodes spinulosus has been recorded as a cleptoparasite of this bee (Perkins, 1923, 1924; Hallett, 1928). Gigantic specimens of S. monilicornis have been observed at the burrows of L. xanthopus (Hallett, 1928). Specimens are rarely stylopized, the parasite being Halictoxenus arnoldi (Perkins, 1891, 1918, 1923).
Tenthredinidae is the largest family of sawflies, with well over 7500 species worldwide. Larvae are typically herbivores and feed on the foliage of trees and shrubs, with occasional exceptions that are leaf miners, stem borers, or gall makers