Black-tailed Skimmer, Broad-bodied Chaser, comma, common blue damselfly, common darter, emperor dragonfly, Four-spotted Chaser, gatekeeper, greenbottle, House Spider, insects, Large Skipper, large white butterfly, leopard slug, meadow brown, micro moth, red admiral, robber fly, Roesel's bush-cricket, ruddy darter, small white butterfly, Suffolk
At last, I am now ready to finish showing you all the insects I saw last month. As with Part 1 of this post, all the insects shown here were photographed in my garden unless otherwise stated.
For most of the month the garden was full of these dragonflies –
Female Meadow Brown butterflies are brighter than the males which often have no orange on them at all. There were plenty of Meadow Brown butterflies but I never managed to get a clear photo of one with its wings open. This photo will have to do.
With its wings closed, the Gatekeeper butterfly can be confused with the Meadow Brown.
The main difference between the two butterflies is the Gatekeeper has two white spots in the eye on the fore-wing but the Meadow Brown has only one. The underside of the Gatekeeper’s hind-wing is slightly more patterned.
The Gatekeeper is more orange than the Meadow Brown. The male Gatekeeper has a central patch of dark scent scales that is lacking in the female. Gatekeepers are very territorial and patrol their home patch, a gateway or stretch of hedgerow, seeing off any rivals.
A Red Admiral butterfly is, like the Meadow Brown, difficult to photograph with its wings open.
At this time of year the garden is always full of Small and Large White butterflies. Fortunately for us, we don’t often grow brassicas and my lovely blue Chicory, which the caterpillars of both white butterflies found tasty, died a while ago.
I often have difficulty telling the difference between the two whites. The black patch on the Large White extends from the wing-tip to at least halfway along the outer edge of the wing but on the Small White it is less dense and doesn’t extend as far. The female Large White has two black spots on the upper and underside of the forewing. The male Large White has two black spots on the underside of the forewing only and none on the upperside. The female Small White has two black spots on the upperside only of the forewing but the male only has one spot which is often faint or even missing. This is what confuses me! I’m glad that they aren’t confused.
There were still plenty of Skipper butterflies during the second half of the month.
I think this may be a photo of a female as I don’t think I can see any scent glands.
These are so named because of a white comma-shaped mark on the underside of its wing.
Dragonflies continued to fly around the garden.
Not a very good photo, but I haven’t been able to get any other pictures of females.
As you can see from the poor photo, I had great difficulty in getting a picture of this dragonfly. The male is very large and powerful and this was the only time I saw it at rest. I had to lean far out over the edge of the pond and I was frightened I would over-balance and fall in the water. It hardly ever left the pond unlike other dragonflies that search for prey along the hedge and up into the trees.
The female is larger than the male and is mainly green and brown. The male has a glorious bright blue abdomen.
These dragonflies are a paler red than the Ruddy Darter and the abdomen isn’t as constricted near the front. The females are a yellowish brown. In both sexes the legs are brown or black with a yellow stripe down the outside.
I have not been able to take many photos of moths this year.
I saw this climbing up the side of the conservatory.
And I saw this inside the garage one evening….
The last creature in this post, like the spider, isn’t an insect and isn’t at all attractive. In fact it looks quite horrific but, before you rush off for your gun or other means of disposing of nasty things, stop!! This isn’t a garden foe it is a friend. Here it is –
These slugs when fully grown are about 7″ long. They don’t damage healthy living plants but eat fungi, rotting plants and other slugs, especially those ones that do so much damage. They have to stay damp to breathe so live in dark, damp places especially piles of rotting logs. They can live for several years. Like other slugs and snails they are hermaphrodites but need to mate with another individual. To mate they climb a tree or other structure and then hang entwined from a branch on a thick strand of mucus. Both slugs then lay eggs in damp places. A dark horse among slugs, then. Who would have thought it!