The two first encounters with insects and arachnids during my short bioblitz this year were with butterflies, that I did not succeed taking pictures of, but since they are also of the most frequent species in this hexapodally impoverished area, you may find many pictures around… These were Inachis io, the European peacock butterfly, and Pieris napi, the Green-veined White.
Here, an insect duo of a unidentified fly, probably a Tachinidae, visiting flowers of an asteraceae (Senecio jacobea , the Ragwort), and unidentified larvae of a sawfly (Symphyta, i.e. Hymenoptera and actually not true flies) chewing flower bits.
Amazingly, the Sawfly is sure an hervivore (and what’s more, a florivore) of the plant, but it is also possible that Tachinid fly is the parasite of the herbivore. A specialist would say, but I’m not one. If this is true, than we have here a mini food-web in a single shot…
Then of course flowers are an easy place to find out bugs. So let’s fill in the pollinator crowd…
Among the late active species, is the common bee (Apis mellifera), here on Ivy (Hedera helix), which is a late flowering plant allowing many insects to find food when hard times begin.
Interestingly, bees were mostly found on Ivy and not on the other plants species still bearing flowers. But it’s true that Ivy is especially attractive and addictive to flying critters in fall, especially those in need for a strong smell and nectar.
In the very same situation, there were many active Hoover flies of the genus Eristalis foraging on the heavy Ivy inflorescences.
I think the species in question is very probably Eristalis similis, and these are very frequent in fall. Please note there is also a small Hymanoptera or something alike on the unopened buds on the right. I have absolutely no idea what this insect is so far…
Bumblebees were also at the blitz feast of some sort.
I mean, I would have expected them to be more frequent, given the fact that they are usually less reluctant than other pollinators to forage outside when it’s getting coldish, but I didn’t see that many. digging into identification of the only species I did see, the reason became more obvious… Parasites!
The ‘bumble’bee you see here on the left (visiting a Linaria vulgaris flower) very probably belongs to the classical Bombus genus, but was once classified as Psithyrus, today considered a subgenus within bees.
And what’s interesting with this subgenus is that it is parasitic of other Bombus: females of these bees invade a bumblebee nest, then kill the queen and get the bees to rear their own larvae instead. This phenomenon is known as kleptoparasitism.
Umbellifers are also a good place to look for nectar and pollen addicts.
There it is! Myathropa florea feeding on an undetermined umbellifer… This species is also frequently found in the region, but in this regrowing wood, this is another indication that the place turned wetter (the larva grows in stagnating waters in tree holes).
Solitary bees, like the members of genus Andrena, are also attracted by these late Apiaceae flowers. You can see below A. haemorrhoa, which is relatively easy to identify among Andrenids (thanks for the bioblitz!).
And let’s not forget about Arachnids. The most common there is Araneus diadematus (previously classified as Eipera), the European Garden Spider (which is actually more of a meadow and bushes spider), but I’ll provide you with a picture of a spider I did not identify instead (on an Asteraceae):
As a conclusion, at least there were some hexapods around… (and Arachnids). Though probably much fewer had the BBB taken place a bit earlier. On the other hand, summer blitzing would have yielded way too many species for a correct ID and posted pictures, so some choices would have been necessary. But all the ‘fall’ species are present in the area in summer, so fall is really only a reduced fraction of the ‘summer’ species in the area… (i.e. there is no typical fall species beyond that of summer).