Colourful Characters

Sorting out pictures from summer trips can be a useful pastime for otherwise dull winter days and evenings. In that respect, it is a benefit to have the task to do. The downside is that remembering detail from summer trips that seem such distant memories can be a bit of trial. Critters that you thought you had identified become once again unknown and you can’t quite place exactly where you shot a particular scene. It’s even worse when there’re two photographers’ collections to be merged. Determination eventually gets the job done, though. Our general insects page has finally been updated with some of our newly made n-legged friends. Here’s a couple of colourful characters to act as ambassadors that will, hopefully, whet your appetite to look further.

IMG_0317_Cercopis_vulnerataQuite why a family of creatures would be tagged Froghoppers I find a little strange but here is one. They are apparently generally dull, brownish in colouration, but we stumbled across what appears to be the only brightly coloured example in Chinery’s Insects of Britain and Western Europe. I say “we” but it’s actually hawk-eyes Carol who normally spots these things. This little chap was enjoying some fine weather beside Le Loir at Luché-Pringé. Cute, don’t you think? Well, I’d call it cute; in fact, I have done. If you want to be formal, call it Cercopis vulnerata.

Argiope bruennichi IMG_2925Argiope bruennichi IMG_2927Maintaining the colourful theme but, I suspect, venturing into the realms of the decidedly less cute for some, particularly some members of the fairer sex, is this rather startling spider rejoicing in the name of Argiope bruennichi. Here are shots of it showing both topside and underside. The underside also shows it wrapping up its lunch which has been caught in the web. The web itself is quite interesting; that white zig-zag construction of silk is called a “vertical stabilimentum”, according to Chinery, and is typical of the species. Quite an engineer, it seems.

IMG_0604_Scorpion_FlyIMG_0064_Scorpion_FlyA little less colourful, perhaps, but no less interesting IMHO is this Scorpion Fly (Panorpa). I should say these Scorpion flies, I suppose, because there’s no guarantee that these two individuals are of the same species, there being about 30 difficult to separate species in Europe. The wing markings look the same to me, though. It’s the male, regrettably rather unnaturally positioned on the stark white side of our caravan, that clearly shows why they are so named, with a fearsome looking upturned tail, just like that of a scorpion. The more naturally posed female looks a little less like a scorpion hybrid.

Dogged determination gets the job done in the end. 🙂

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