Sunday, 30 June 2013

Beautiful Flies and a Snail Eating Beetle.

Criorhina floccosa - East Bridgford, Notts 25th June 2013. 
Three stonking species of fly in the last couple of days along the River at East Bridgford, non of them rare but beautiful all the same and with interesting life styles.  First photograph is of the bee mimic Criorhina floccosa. I find these at East Bridgford most summers but only one or two a year.  Larvae apparently live in damp tree boles. 

Volucella bombylans - East Bridgford June 2013
Another Bee mimic is shown in the second photograph of Volucella bombylans.  Now the female of this fly lays its eggs in the nests of wasps. The larvae then feed on nest debris.  It's thought that when the fly enters the nest invariably gets attacked by the rightful occupants.  The flies response upon being stung is to egg lay. Pretty good evolutionary response if you ask me.

Volucella pellucens - East Bridgford June 2013 
Finnal fly of this weeks triumvirate is the common and large Volucella pellucens.  Pretty common if you search flowerheads of Hogweed,  I even had one in my garden this week on Dog daisy. There are also a couple of other big Volucella species around this part of Nottinghamshire. The wasp mimic, Volucella inanis, pictures of which are on my flickr site and Volucella zonaria, one of the UK's largest flies which always makes me think that a hornet has flown past, they are that large, even copying the flight style of them. 

My Son plays cricket at one of the most beautiful grounds in England, Thurgarton Priory. On saturday (29th June) he told me to bring the camera down as he had found the lovely and distinctive carabid beetle Cychrus caraboides, along snouted carabid designed to get its mandibles into snails.  When you pick this chap up it makes a rather loud stridulatory noise. I'm not actually too sure which parts of it body it rubs together, I think its the elytra (the hardened wings of beetles that give them their distinctive appearance) and parts of the insects abdomen.  Apparently emits soundwaves of up to 80kHz. 

Cychrus caraboides - Thurgarton Priory 29th June 2013. 

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