Colin Booker and I visited Carlton Marsh nature reserve today. It was my first visit and I was impressed by the range of things to be seen.
Golden bloomed grey longhorn beetle (Agapanthia villosoviridescens)
Early in the walk, we found a golden-bloomed grey longhorn beetle – minus one horn (antenna) – on hogweed. This is the second species of longhorn beetle that I have seen in one week and it may be an indication of how these species are expanding their ranges northwards.
Another insect seen was a large hoverfly, for which my suggested identification is Cheilosia illustrata.
Fly killed by Entomophthora fungus
We also spotted a fly, on the underside of a leaf, which had been infected by an Entomophthora fungus. This fungus causes the fly to change its behaviour so that it walks up a plant. It then dies but it doesn’t fall from the plant because fungal hyphae grow from its feet to attach it to the plant. Spores of the fungus are then carried away on the breeze.
Mignonette (Roseda lutea) & musk mallow (Malva moschata)
There was a wide range of plant species to be seen.
Wild carrot (Daucus carota)
Wild carrot is a common plant but the flower head is very attractive when viewed closely.
Greater knapweed (Centauria scabiosa)
I was walking around Fitzwilliam Country Park this afternoon when I spotted lots of metallic black/blue beetles on the leaves of an alder. I think the alder is Italian alder (Alnus cordata).
Alder Leaf Beetle on Italian Alder
I believe that the beetles are Alder Leaf Beetle. This species has been absent from the UK for about 60 years and it began to be recorded again in about 2004. It is likely that it was reintroduced to the British Isles by the plant trade.
Alder Leaf Beetle (Agelastica alni)
There were many beetles on this and other trees, singles and mating pairs. You can see holes in the leaf in the picture above. This species causes significant damage to alder and can reduce leaves to skeletons. It was recorded at RSPB Old Moor in 2012 and it has been recorded at Wintersett since 2013.