What is Patton's Tiger?

I have been immersed in natural history since I was 18 and started work at the (then) Wildfowl Trust at Arundel. I met, worked and lived with some brilliant naturalists and a lifetime's obsession was born.
Birding was followed by mothing and the height of 'achievement' was obtained when a moth was given the above vernacular name in recognition of the fact that I trapped the first British record.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Take a Beating!

I've continued to thrash unsuspecting evergreen trees and bushes in search of overwintering insects. Yew seems to have given up all it's surprises now so I've been looking out for other species to attack. Ivy is supposed to host a lace bug but I haven't found it as yet. However, tapping some Ilex near Mogador in Surrey did produce a rather lovely Box Bug.

I was so busy looking for tiny things on the net, I overlooked the bug for a while!

After leaving the recent Weevil Workshop at Dinton Pastures CP, I stopped off at Wellingtonia Avenue on the way home. Tapping some of the lower branches of the species from which the road gets its name, a Heather Ladybird appeared along with a couple of picture-winged flies, which key out to be Tephritis conura.

Targetted searches save time and the Eleagnus in my mother's garden had the expected psyllid Cacopsylla fulguralis.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Beating trees.

I have always thought of this time of year as being invertebrate-free and consequently boring and useless. Something inspired me to try beating yew trees and as these are often found in churchyards I have been lurking around with beating tray and stick trying not to attract too much attention to myself. The biggest insects found have been the attractive Juniper Shieldbugs (barring a cranefly I haven't yet identified) but most of the catch consists leafhoppers, small spiders and barklice.

Juniper Shieldbug

I'm only attempting identification of species I have a fair chance of success with so this very odd looking fly,

which transpired to be a fungus gnat, will remain unidentified but this picture-winged fly,

one of two beaten from box, is Tephritis formosa.

My garden has been pretty unproductive but tapping the Pieris japonica yielded a single Andromeda Lacebug