Friday, 11 April 2014

Insects and bats

Lesser Horseshoe Bat digesting a meal
A couple of posts ago, I mentioned a Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposiderus) and Violet Oil-beetles (Meloe violaceus). The former was feeding around our log store early one evening last week, pausing periodically to hang out (literally), while the beetles (up to five, and including both males and females – separable owing to the considerable size difference between them) have been basking on the edge of a sunny bank that is covered in rough grass and the leaves of myriad gone-over snowdrops. Oil-beetles are under threat in the UK and have an extraordinary life-cycle that is described in this very nice Buglife factsheet. Also much in evidence at the moment are Stoneflies (Plecopotera), taking to the wing after spending their larval stages submerged in the stream. Like dragonflies, the nymphs crawl out of the water in spring and find a dry, sheltered spot – often the wall of our house! – in which to complete their transformation into flying adults.

Female Violet Oil-beetle (about 25mm long)
Meloe violaceus
Meloe violaceus
Stonefly (about 25mm long)

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