Asian ladybeetle (Harmonia axyridis)
I like the way Barry photographed this very heavily spotted ladybeetle in the middle of a fleabane.
Question mark caterpillar (Polygonia interrogationis)
Diane and I found this very tiny caterpillar on the underside of a stinging nettle leaf. I asked Ross Layberry if it could be a question mark larva and he said yes, it most surely is. Stinging nettles are attractive to several butterfly species for egg laying, and an important plant.
Last year, someone took it upon themselves to cut down stinging nettle in the Butterfly Meadow. Why? We have no idea. It was not alongside the path and you had to really look to find it, so it was someone who must have decided that they knew best what should grow in that site. We have more nettles growing in hidden locations and hopefully other butterflies will find them and use them.
Meadow Spittlebug (Philaenus spumarius)
Meadow spittlebugs come in an astonishing variety of colours and patterns. This is one of the more commonly seen, along with the distinctive brown and white two-toned pattern.
Clavate tortoise beetle (Plagiometriona clavata)
Diane and I were thrilled to see this beautiful little tortoise beetle (good spotting, Diane!). It was sitting near a big patch of Physalis plants, which is one of its favoured host plants. It is sometimes called the teddy bear beetle, because it has a passing resemblance to a cuddly little teddy!
Grasshoppers are becoming much more common, many are still in the immature stage, and some are so tiny as to be barely noticeable.
Not sure which species this is, but it is a lovely bronzed looking little bug.
Ichneumonid wasp (Diplazon laetatorius)
This tiny little wasp was stalking amongst the aphids, looking for aphid eggs to eat! Their larvae are parasites on hover flies.
These beautiful red aphids are abundant this year. We always see them on the plants in the sunflower family, but this year they seem to be more noticeable than in the recent past. Amongst them were Asian ladybeetles, syrphid (hover fly) larvae, and of course, ants.
Syrphid larva eating an aphid
When you see aphids on a plant, take a closer look. You might see some other interesting critters, such as this syrphid larva.
Tumbling flower beetle (Mordellistena ?)
This is a tiny little thing, a few mm in length. On an ox-eye daisy in the Butterfly Meadow.
Tumbling flower beetle (Mordellistena)?
This back view shows the distinctive shape of the tumbling flower beetles. When disturbed, these little creatures roll and tumble off the their flowery perch.
Dog-strangling Vine/Pale Swallowwort
Here you can see the white-flowered and red-flowered DSV. The white-flowered is no doubt a white form of the usually red-flowered DSV, but there has been some speculation by researchers that this particular white flowered DSV is a separate species. Maybe we'll learn more one way or another in time.