Monday, 27 June 2011

Lots of Moths and a Horse-fly

A very warm night produced a splendid moth catch this morning with eighty species that I could identify and a couple of micro-moths that defeated me. New for the year were: peach blossom, light arches, small yellow wave, dingy shell, lobster moth, dot moth, purple clay, small angle shades, Kent black arches, small dotted buff and clay as well as a range of micros. The conditions were more or less perfect for a big catch and I hope for the same tonight.
However, despite a huge catch there was actually nothing that unusual. So the title of insect of the day went to a huge horse-fly species. Firstly because this is a really big insect, fortunately it does not seem to bite humans and secondly because it could be a very rare species. There are two supper-sized horse-flies in Britain both with females about 35mm long and bulky with it. The two species are Tabanus sudeticus and Tabanus bovinus. The first is common and the second rare and there is much doubt about many specimens, especially the females. The one pictured below has many of the characters of bovinus, overall rather pale, with broad orange bands and antennae with orange at the base only. Although certain identification may never be possible,especially from a picture, this does look very good for the species and it is also of interest that confirmed specimens have come from as close as Red Shoot, just a couple or so miles away in the New Forest.
The horse-fly flew and and landed on the side of the building whilst we were helping with a school group who were pond-dipping. Along with all the usual things a long tube of jelly like eggs were picked out. Although I am pretty confident they are eggs, I don't know of what, any ideas out there?
Elsewhere I saw my first large skipper butterfly of the year, other butterflies included comma and small tortoiseshell. Birds today were few, the common tern chicks are flying better each day, one even tried to catch a butterfly in mid-air as it flew across Ivy Lake and came very close too.

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