a french garden


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Beasties file

I enjoy taking photographs of the things I see in the garden and around me.

Ladybird pupa

I took this on the third of July this year and stored it in my Beasties file.  It was not until this September that I was treated to a full slide show of Ladybird metamorphosis that I could identify it as a ladybird pupa.

http://bybio.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/ladybug-metamorphosis/

I like not only watching nature but learning more.  I really enjoy following “Back Yard Biology” not just for the superb photographs but the great commentaries that go with them.

 


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It is a matter of perspective

It is all a matter of perspective.

A glow in the night

Viewed on the computer this is a remarkably bad photograph.

Viewed in reality on a warm August evening it is a little marvel of nature.

Viewed scientifically it is a bioluminescence released when the enzyme luciferase interacts with the luciferin naturally produced by the glow-worm, releasing energy in the form of light.

Viewed from the point of view of a male Lampyris noctiluca it is an irresistible attraction.  The female glow worm is attracting her winged mate.

Glow worm in strawberry patch

Viewed with the aid of flash, the beetle Lampyris noctiluca can be seen more clearly.

A closer look

From my point of view I love to see these points of light that make summer evenings so special.

Glow baby, glow!

From the point of view of a gardener, I was even more delighted to discover that the larvae eat snails.  I just hope they have been able to find sufficient this year as it has been so dry.

It is nice to think that there may be a group of glow worms protecting my strawberries while I sleep!


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Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite them

Check out the red mite or tick on the side of the fly!

The vermin only teaze and pinch

Their foes superior by an inch.

So, naturalists observe, a flea

Has smaller fleas that on him prey;

And these have smaller still to bite ’em,

And so proceed ad infinitum.

Taken from “On Poetry: a Rhapsody“, Jonathon Swift (1733)

I was taken aback when I saw this robber fly on my hydrangea about to tuck into a smaller fly while he himself was being made a meal of by a red tick or mite on his side.

So what’s inside the mite – bacteria, ‘phages, viruses, prions?  Mmm, first poetry, next philosophy, I think I prefer to keep to observation.


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Definitely a nasty!

A comment made by http://missapismellifera.com made me think and gave me a challenge.  I share what I see and find beautiful in the garden; the flowers, the bumble bees, the pretty birds but I wondered if I am giving a balanced or rose-tinted view of life.

I set out to find a nasty.  But will I succeed?  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the closer we get to nature the greater the  array of creatures we notice. Then our appreciation mellows and mutates without us being aware of exactly when our sensibilities started to change.

Solitary black fly Asilidae (?)

I saw these flies just a short distance away from the garden in the fields.  I think they belong to the family Asilidae (but stand ready to be corrected).  They look more like large wasps or small dragonflies.  These are predatory insects and can take smaller insects in flight.  The family includes many mimics.  Even one that can mimic a bumble bee!

Flies mating

The bristles on their legs serving here to steady themselves on the grass are also used to trap their victims and to carrying them off to be consumed in the comfort of a safe, shady spot.

Wasp-like body but different mate

There is a marked dimorphism between the male and female flies.  Who would want to be an entomologist  when there is such a difference between the male and female that if I had seen them apart I would have assumed that they were different species?

Now I wonder, have I found a nasty or does anyone like these flies?

These flies have now been identified as Dasypogon diadema by http://daysontheclaise.blogspot.com.  Thank you so much Susan!


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Where do butterflies go when it’s cloudy?

It’s cloudy today, not cold just cloudy and there has been a short shower of rain.

But no butterflies.

A few days ago we went for a walk.

(Melanargia galathea, Marbled white)

There were butterflies everywhere.

(Melanargia galathea, Marbled white)

Just to prove what I am saying, I’ll show you a photograph of two at one time.

( Colias crocea, Common clouded yellow)

There were yellow ones.

(Pieris brassicae, Large white)

White ones.

(Aricia agestis, Brown Argus)

Brown ones.

The wild scabious was very popular with them.

(Azuritis reducta, Southern white admiral)

It was the same in the garden.

(Inachis io, Peacock)

The Peacock butterflies were abundant.

But not today.  Where do butterflies go when they don’t fancy taking a turn out to sip some nectar?

The bees I understand, they stay in their hives or nests if the weather is bad.  But the bees are still active today, if somewhat subdued compared to a sunny day.

Do butterflies suffer from depression if it is not sunny?


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French stick insect

This little creature attached itself to us in the garden, or rather to the mug of coffee I had left on the grass.  It is not a fast mover and did not object to a close examination.

Close up it looks like a bad imitation plastic toy.

If you think it looks cute, you are not alone.  Stick insects are kept as pets and there are much more exotic varieties for the connoisseur than this one.  At least you would have no problem breeding it as this stick insect (Clonopsis gallica) is parthenogenic, the female can produce viable eggs and the continuity of the species is assured with no male intervention.

It  eats leaves, in particular those of wild roses, brambles, hawthorn and almonds. It is amazingly difficult to see amongst the greenery when it is not moving, especially when it aligns itself alongside a leaf stalk.

This one is bright green, as are all young ones but they will gradually turn darker and become brown, there is already a darkening behind the neck in this one.  I prefer its plastic green colour.