Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Maulden Heath

Arriving at Maulden Heath late afternoon after warm sunshine for most of the day, I knew there was very little chance of catching up with any adders. But you never know, so I wandered around the brash heaps....and came across this beauty!

This Ichneumon Wasp spent some time exploring this log before inserting its ovipositor in search of some unfortunate grub...I hadn't realised that the ovipositor is usually enclosed in a sheath. Before witnessing this, though, it did occur to me that that what I thought was the ovipositor looked a bit thick and blunt for this kind of work!

There were a number of flies around, including this Noon Fly (Mesembrina meridiana), one of several on a farm gate - all the information I've seen says that the larvae develop in cattle dung, but there's only horses and sheep around here!

The Noon Fly is unmistakable in its dramatic orange and black livery. Here's another view - it's blowing a bubble, something that flies often engage in!

This was also on the gate enjoying the sunshine. It's the Kite-tailed Robberfly (Machimus atricapilllus) - you can just see the 'tab' of hairs towards the end of the underside of the abdomen.

But this was the best find of the day. I had been examining a Badger path that led under the fence when I suddenly noticed this Hoverfly on a Knapweed bloom. It's Rhingia rostrata, a scarce species that has only recently been found in Bedfordshire. It's reckoned that the larvae develop in Badger latrines!

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