Prof Bill Amos of the Department of Zoology continues his insect photo diary with soe wonderful portraits of damselflies, a bush cricket, and images of predation in action as a spider and a robber fly feast on hoverflies.
Roesel’s bush cricket, a very handsome chap. Crickets are carnivorous and have very long thin antennae, separating them from grasshoppers that are vegetarian and have much shorter, stiffer antennae. Hoverflies are abundant this year and if you are common, you will attract predators. This marmalade hoverfly made the mistake of landing on a flower where a beautifully camouflaged crab spider was waiting. A male hoverfly, probably Melanostoma scalare, though this photo does not show the abdomen. The business end of a female banded demoiselle. They are very pretty to look at but fearsome predators. Another hoverfly. This group is one I always loved as a child and I am rediscovering this passion in lockdown. I love the shine on the wings, here. This damselfly did not fly away when I got close, but kept shuffling round to the other side of the stick! The tiny but elegant Baccha elongata. This is one of the smallest species and flies very slowly in shady spots. This one is just landing on one of its favourite flowers. Another hoverfly in trouble! This one has been caught by a large robber fly. Robber flies tend to be long-bodied and hairy and lie in wait for their prey, usually other flies, along the stems of plants. They have piercing mouthparts which they use to drain their victims. This is the nymph of a strange-looking bug called Heterotoma planicornis, which has remarkable long, thick antennae. Here the flash fired on the other side of the leaf, giving the ghostly green glow. Britain’s largest hoverfly, Volucella zonaria. Huge! On a flower they are docile and, in my view, very beautiful. I never stop enjoying watching them feed. In flight they really do look like hornets, despite being the wrong body shape – you just see something huge, orange and black. This species used to be very rare but is becoming more and more common and, like all hoverflies, it is harmless.
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.
An Insect A Day Part 5 for butterflies, beetles and clear-wing moths.
An Insect A Day Part 6 for beetles, hoverflies and the silken webs of emine moth caterpillars.
An Insect A Day Part 7 for lacewings, butterflies, hoverflies and more.
An Insect A Day Part 8 for longhorn beetles, hoverflies and camouflaged caterpillars.
Insect-eye View for sawfly, hoverfly and solitary bees.
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