Friday, 9 May 2008

Lochranza to Laggan, Isle of Arran

The sky was overcast and cloudy with a hint of rain and I saw very few Green Hairstreaks at Laggan. No adders on the Narachan either. On the path up I found a Garden Tiger Moth (Arctia caja) caterpillar (also known as a 'woolly bear').

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

Oil Beetle (Meloe violaceus?) female

I was pleased to find some mating Oil Beetles (Meloe violaceus?) on the Narachan as I haven't seen any for awhile. The female in the photo above is about 3cm in length and exuded a smelly defence chemical (Cantharidin) when handled.

These beetles have an unusual lifestyle: they are parasitic on various species of ground nesting solitary bees. The female lays her eggs in a burrow close to a solitary bee colony and the emerging larvae (called tringulins) climb onto flowerheads and wait until a bee arrives. They attach themselves to the bee and are carried back to the colony where they moult into a more maggot like form. Inside the bee colony they feed upon the bee's pollen store and eggs. The larvae pupate inside the bee colony and emerge the following year as adult oil beetles.

Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) yearling fawn

1 comment: