Category Archives: Other Invertebrates

In search of the Wood White

Last week, myself and some friends headed to Devon, hoping to see a particular species of butterfly – the Wood White (Leptidea sinapis). Unfortunately, the Wood White (as far as I’m aware) doesn’t seem to hold territory in Cornwall, hence our adventure across the border. We visited a private nature reserve, located near Ashwater, known to be home to the species.

Upon arrival to the reserve, we were alert and poised. The first hour involved us pursuing all things vaguely white and butterfly-like.

Initially, we enjoyed an abundance of Green-veined White (Pieris napi). Stopping frequently to sup nectar, I spent some time photographing them. The clear black fingers on their underwing are characteristic, distinguishing them from other white’s:


This Common White Wave (Cabera pusaria) almost had us fooled, before landing:


Eventually though, we found our target, fluttering low over the vegetation towards us. When it landed for a brief moment, we managed to pot it against a cushion of moss, giving us the opportunity to take a closer look:


Quite a dainty and fragile looking butterfly, but boy can it go some! After taking away the pot, the butterfly quickly took off, leaving me hot (or rather not) on its trail. Hurrying on with its own pre-determined agenda, it led me through fields and over hedgelines, clambering over fences and jumping over pools (not always successfully). The chase lasted a good while, resulting in heavy breathing, wet feet, and a series of blurry images. All part of the fun!

Other highlights during our time on the reserve included identifying my first ever hoverfly – The Footballer (Helophilus pendulus). Here, a pair, best of mates:


And finally, we witnessed one of those moments that make you stop in your tracks. An Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) hunting in close quarters (certainly impressive in itself) snapped up a Green-veined White right in front of us, landed nearby, and went ahead in slowly making a meal of it:


South West revisited – An influx of insects

A collection of photos taken of invertebrates during my time in the South West…

Gorse Shieldbug

Gorse Shieldbug
. Found this little fella at work in our vehicle after a hard days work removing gorse at Beacon Hill on the Durham Coast.

As their name suggests, these guys actually look like a shield when viewed from above. They are about 12mm long and feed mainly on gorse, but can also turn up on other members of the pea family, including runner beans in gardens. There are two adult colour forms: in the spring most are green, with a dark patch at the end of the wings and pale yellow sides, but during the late summer adults are richly maroon and green. Their red antennae are distinctive to this species.

Some wildlife on the Durham Coast

Bloody Crane’s-bill (Geranium sanguineum). Shippersea Bay.

Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria). Hawthorn Dene.

Red-and-black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata). Hawthorn Dene.