Friday, April 22, 2011

Randall's Farm

A quick walk along the brookside vegetation at Randall's Farm yesterday was very productive.

This Blue-tailed Damselfly is yet another species that has appeared very early this year. I don't know whether any more have been recorded in Bedfordshire or wider afield, yet, but this must be one of the first.

This is the beautiful Brassica Shieldbug (Eurydema oleracea). There were good numbers in the tops of the Garlic Mustard plants. And they're obviously in the mood for love! There are two colour forms which were both present. This is the red-spotted form.

And this is the white-spotted form. I noticed today that all of the breeding pairs were composed of red-spot with red-spot, and white-spot with white-spot. Is this always the case? And, if so, does this indicate that the two forms are on the way to becoming two separate species??

Update: I've just found 2 photos of the different forms mating with one another on the British bug id website here. So that puts paid to that rumour! :) Sheila Brooke sent me this quote from Roger Hawkins' 'Shieldbugs of Surrey': 'the colours are partly but by no means wholly linked to the sex and age of the insect.' He also says that when mating pairs were looked at the red-spotted ones were mostly female and the white-spotted mostly male. Fascinating!

A few years ago I was fortunate in recording the first of these bugs to be found in Bedfordshire. It's Corizus hyoscyami. They were in the process of spreading inland from the coast....and Bedfordshire is about as far from the coast as you can get. This poor photo shows that they are continuing to do well!!


  1. Steve, i saw a Four-spotted Chaser this afternoon, here in Yorks. No chance to prove it with a pic though. It was just too damn flighty in this mid-summer type weather we`re experiencing at the mo.

  2. Hi Dean.
    Thanks for your comment. Someone found a 4-spotted Chaser just down the road from here, too. I think that there's a lot of early records being broken, certainly down here!
    I hope you manage to get many great pictures as the season progresses!

  3. "I hope you manage to get many great pictures as the season progresses!"

    Cheers, Steve. Got some decent ones today of various stuff. Hope you have a good season too.