A queen wasp (Vespula vulgaris) in the hedge in Sleepers Field.Continue reading “Queen wasp”
Pesticides and soil biodiversity
A meta-analysis of nearly 400 research studies has shown that pesticides are damaging the soil’s vitally important ecosystems. Researchers have warned that we must be more careful about considering the organisms that live in the soil when we assess the environmental impact of pesticides. A UN report published in December 2020 found that, without urgent action to halt degradation, the future of our soils looks bleak: it takes thousands of years for new soils to form.Continue reading
Message from Ian
Speckled Wood, Peacocks, Orange Tip and Brimstone knocking about.Continue reading “Butterfly season”
Dandelions for dinner
Dandelions are a feast for early nectar and pollen feeders.Continue reading
Blunt-tailed Snake Millipede
The blunt-tailed snake millipede (Cylindroiulus punctatus) is tiny: it grows up to 25 mm. It is pale brown and its segments are coloured in a way that makes it look striped; it often has darker spots along each side. Its native habitat is the rotting wood and leaf litter of deciduous woodlands but it is just as happy to live in the untidier places in your garden. All millipedes feed on dead plant material, they are essential nutrient recyclers.
Both photographs are by Christophe Quintin.
Research has concluded that 42% of people are scared of spiders.Read on for a little reassurance
More about oak galls
Yesterday’s post about oak apples prompted questions. Here is more information about some of the oak gall wasps that induce oak trees into producing such strange growths.Continue reading
The temperature is dropping and we have already seen the first frosts. The park’s invertebrates are preparing for hibernation.Continue reading
It’s crane fly time!Read on:
Question from Tom Martin:
Found this on the pavement near my house. Do you know what it is?
What lives in here?
There are funnel shaped webs low down in the dense vegetation of the park’s hedges and edges; what lives in them?Continue reading
Here are some things you may not have known about slugs.Continue reading
National Insect Week – Day 5
Whirligig beetles are actually a whole family (Gyrinidae) of water beetles: almost 700 different species globally, most of them very much alike and extremely difficult to tell apart. We have no idea what particular species live in the pond above the wooden bridge but all the Gyridinae share some fascinating features.Read on for details and a short video
A message and pictures from Julie, regular park-user:
Saw these little mini molehill type structures on the path next to the pond. Under the ones already disturbed there is a little hole. It’s possibly ants or something but thought I’d send them in anyway. Do you know what made them?Read on to solve the mystery
Another new species
On Sunday, Julie Newblé sent us pictures of caterpillars in a tent-web she found strung between blackthorn twigs in the hedge at the top of the Arboretum.Continue reading
This week has brought a report of the first of the summer’s meadow browns.Continue reading “Meadow brown”
with Ian Bushell
Ian, our expert on invertebrates, has sent us pictures from the park…Continue reading
This is a red-and-black froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata) photographed in the park yesterday by Ian Bushell. There are ten different species of froghopper in the UK and while the red-and-black froghopper is not the most common, it is widespread.Continue reading “Froghopper”
Cockchafers, more familiarly known as May bugs, are one of those things that go bang in the night.Continue reading “Cockchafer”
A dandelion crammed with tiny bronze-black beetles. Our favourite entomologist emailed us:
They’re pollen beetles. Getting a positive ID is going to be impossible without sending me a specimen (and they’re too small!) but this time of year the most common species is the Common Pollen Beetle Meligethes aeneus.Continue reading “Common pollen beetle”