Prof Bill Amos of the Department of Zoology continues his insect photo diary with images of weevils, clearwing moths and a remarkable bumblebee mimic. Follow his orange tip caterpillar as it grows too – you can see it as an egg and newly hatched caterpillar in earlier posts.
A large weevil doing a remarkably good imitation of a sloth (my first thought) or a sad, elderly dog waiting to go for a walk (a friend’s suggestion). A wasp of some kind? No! This is actually a day-flying moth pretending to be a wasp. It is the red-belted clearwing. When it emerges from its chrysalis its wings have scales all over, but the scales in the middle are loosely attached and fall off during the first flight. My friend, the orange tip caterpillar, still going! I watched the female lay her egg, photographed the egg and have returned again and again to watch the caterpillar grow. A common soldier beetle. Like flower beetles, these guys do quite a bit of flying compared with other beetles and they are common almost everywhere just now. A male common blue butterfly. The males have the beautiful blue wings that this one seemed very reluctant to show. The females are very variable, some being brown can they can have quite a lot of blue too. Another deceiver! This is a hoverfly, Volucella bombylans, pretending to be a bumblebee. It has got the chunky furry body spot on, but the face and flight patterns are completely different. A browntail caterpillar. This species often carries council health warnings! When young, they live in communal webs. Their defence is to shed their intensely irritating hairs which can be blown in the wind and create allergic reactions as much as 2 miles away, it is said. When older, I think the shedding is less but you’d be very unwise to pick one up. This year there were warning notices all round Trumpington Meadows and I found this one of the Addenbrooke’s Hospital site.
You can see more of Bill’s photographs on the blog:
An Insect A Day for bee fly, orange tip buttefly and parasitic wasp.
An Insect A Day continues for scorpion fly, shield bug and click beetle.
An Insect A Day Part 3 for wasp beetle; dragonfly and aphids giving birth.
An Insect A Day Part 4 for metallic beetles and day-flying moths.
Insect-eye View for sawfly, hoverfly and solitary bees.
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