Thursday, June 25, 2009

Woburn Estate south: field margin

Following a tip-off from ace Beds Hoverfly Recorder, John O'Sullivan, I zipped over to this location at lunchtime hoping for a beastie called Volucella inflata which has become a bit of a bogey species for me: they're around...but not when I am! I did, however, come across two other members of the genus (below). Volucella hoverflies don't do boring....

Volucella pellucens. The female of this species won't even knock on the door of the wasps' nest where she chooses to lay her eggs, but walks straight in. Darned impolite, I say!

Volucella bombylans. This beauty will use wasps' nests but, as you can see from its colours, it's a pretty impressive bumblebee mimic, so you'll as likely find the growing larvae in a bumblebee nest. Sometimes the intruding female is fingered by the bees who will sting her but, in such a scenario, she will immediately lay her eggs by reflex action.

What is it about me and horseflies? They scare me, but they fascinate me, too. I'm hoping someone can give me an id for this male. I thought it was the Band-eyed Brown Horsefly (Tabanus bromius), but the pattern at the top of the eyes seems to suggest that it might be the Plain-eyed Brown Horsefly (Tabanus miki).

I hot-footed it back to the car when several Notch-horned Clegs (Haemotopota pluvialis) turned up and tried to land on me to have their way with me...ugh! Other invertebrates included good numbers of the longhorn beetle, Rutpela maculata, and a stunningly-liveried Red Admiral butterfly.

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