Friday, 26 August 2016

Blaencaerau Devil's Bit Scabious patch

While walking around 2 days ago, I found a large dense area of Devil's Bit Scabious about 100yds long by 30yds white. All the insect forums foam at the mouth when talking about this plant attracting insects in late summer. So I thought I'd spend 2hrs just sitting and walking round the patch to see what was there. To be perfectly honest I was gobsmacked, with hoverflies on virtually every other flower head. I recorded 32 species of hoverfly with Helophilus hybridus new for me but not the valley, as Paul had one in early July. Eristalis intricarius was abundant with 9 being present, I've only ever seen one in the valley, way back in 2012, so was delighted to get multiple shots of this species. Other good species included Baccha elongata, Platycheirus granditarsus, Eupeodes species which I can't ID from photo but looks like it could be bucculatus, I'll have to get this confirmed as it is very rare, Eristalis rupium, Helophilus trivittatus and Leucozona glaucia. Other insects were well represented in all families. So I'll upload just a few of them.

 Scabious patch just above the Newtown bungalows on the forestry track.
 Eristalis intricarius
 Eristalis rupium
 Helophilus hybridus - the yellow on T3 +T2 is fused diagnostic for this species.
 Eupeodes species - not a good angle, but the underside [sternites] of the abdomen and the hind femur colour are all different in combination in this genus - so corollae, latifasciatus, luniger [common 3] and the rare lapponicus can all be ruled out. Checking Steve Falks on line flickr album on Eupeodes, it matches "bucculatus" perfectly. But whether it will be enough to get past the HRS evaluation is another thing. Also looking at the wing venation from underneath - R4+5 has a strong "bounce" to it towards its end another good "bucculatus pointer". The yellow on top of the abdomen doesn't reach the edge, so rules out corollae definitely.
 Common Carder Bee
 Green Tiger Beetle
 Phasia hemiptera - rather late date for this Tachinid Fly
 Small Skipper - one of ten species of Butterfly around the Scabious.
Patchwork Leaf-cutter Bee

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