Euroleon nostras -Ant Lion-Suffolk

These alien looking things turn into lovely looking lacewings

Eurolean Nostrus

Lurking in the sand are creatures which have been described as ‘demons in the dust’. They are the larvae of a member of the lacewing family that prey on small invertebrates which stray into their traps.

The ant-lion detects the movement of woodlice, ants and other prey using tiny hairs on their body and either wait for them to fall to the bottom of the trap or flick up sand to knock them down. These unlucky creatures are grabbed in the larva’s powerful pincers and the juices sucked out of their bodies via a tube. The traps, often all that is seen of the ant-lion, are conical pits which it forms by flicking sand outwards with its head. They are found in colonies in loose, dry sand at the base of small south facing sandy cliffs protected by overhanging vegetation or on the root-plates of fallen trees. The larvae take two years to mature in the ground where they pupate and emerge in late summer as winged adults which, in their brief lives, mate and lay eggs in the sand. They are sometimes attracted to moth traps.

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Andrena argentata – Blaxhall Common Suffolk

Another new bee for me !!

A medium-small species rather resembling a small A. barbilabris. Females have the same small-headed build and very pale facial fovea but the white hair fringes of the abdomen are much better developed and the pollen brushes of the hind tibiae are whitish rather than dark brown. Like barbilabris, the hind margin of tergite 1 has longitudinal creases.

Males tend to look very silvery in the field with a long white pile on the sides of the thorax and conspicuous white hair fringes on the abdomen.

This is a specialist of southern lowland heath with records extending north to Worcestershire. It flies from late June to September and foraging is largely from heathers

Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum-Suffolk

Length: 44-49mm
Females and immatures are pale, yellowish brown with tho bold lines running along the length of the abdomen. The wings have a yellow costa and a very dark brown or black pterostigma.
The males develop a blue pruinescence on the abdomen darkening to the rear with with S8-10 becoming black. Its eyes are very dark green. They fly swift and low, skimming the water surface.
Females retain their colur and markings though they become quite greyish brown with age.

Tabanus sudeticus-Dark giant horsefly (Suffolk)

Britain’s largest horsefly – a monster the size of a queen bumblebee. Fortunately, it prefers biting horses to humans. This is mainly a species of boggy areas in north and west Britain though it remains common in the New Forest where it prefers woodland clearings. The larvae develop as predators in wet mud and vegetation of peaty ditches and pools.

S. longicornis (type of soldier fly) Suffolk

One of the ‘big five’ soldierflies (4 Stratiomys species plus Odontomyia ornata). This is the only one with an entirely black abdomen, though patches of pale hairs can create the impression of a pattern, and very small yellow spots are rarely present (nearly always present in southern European populations). Beware of S. singularior individuals with very small yellow spots – these have extensively dark hind tibiae and usually average larger. It also has a more hirsute appearance than other Stratiomys species

S. longicornis is almost entirely restricted to coastal areas, typically upper saltmarsh, tidal rivers and coastal grazing marsh where brackish pools, ditches and lagoons are present within (e.g. borrow dykes and old salt-winning areas). It will typically occur alongside S. singularior in such places but seems to specialise in more saline habitats. As a result of its more specialised needs, it is a much scarcer species with the bulk of the British population occurring within the Solent area, Sussex coastal marshes, Thames marshes and East Anglian coast.