At this time of year there is a lot of different wildlife around to see - birds,water vole, common lizards, flowers (by the way - we have a brilliant plant id walk coming up on 7 July - check it out here), bees, butterflies, dragonflies, and a whole host of other invertebrates.

This blog is celebrating some of the smaller inhabitants of the reserve - the invertebrates

Peacock butterfly - Michael Franklin

(Spider warning - there will be some amazing pictures of spiders at the end of this blog!)

Invertebrates are creatures that do not have a backbone - there are more than just insects, there's arthropods (insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and myriapods), mollusks (chitons, snails, bivalves, squids, and octopuses), annelids (earthworms and leeches), and cnidarians (hydras, jellyfishes, sea anemones, and corals).

About 97% of animals are invertebrates! About 1.25 million have been discovered so far, and most of them are insects. 

Many insects are vital to humans - many pollinate plants, create useful substances such as honey, wax, lacquer and silk. Many insects will eat other insects that could damage agriculture and human structures.

Here are some of the insects that have been seen recently:

Ruby-tailed wasp - by Lawrence Rogers

The ruby-tailed wasp are stunning solitary wasps - they get their name for the amazing colouring. There are a number of different species but they do look quite similar.

One of the species (Chrysis ignita) is the cuckoo of the insect world (they are also known as the cuckoo wasp!) - they are a parasite on bees. The adult female lays it's eggs in the nest of a bee species, when the young hatch into a larve it eats the host species! 

Dark bush-cricket - Bill Moss

Although the grasshopper and crickets are typical summer sounds - it's quite often the dark bush-cricket as some of the more high-pitched songs of crickets and grasshoppers are inaudible to human ears - they can only be heard using a bat detector.

Golden-bloomed grey longhorn by Kenneth Bentley

This species of beetle is a medium sized beetle, up to 22mm excluding the antennae. You can see why they are called longhorn! The are a grey beetle covered with golden yellow hair. 

Poecilobothrus Nobilitatus by Bill Moss

This is a stunning fly - look at those colours!

Cinnabar moth - by Andy Reid

These lovely moths are seen during the day, but they also fly after dark. They are names after the bright red mineral 'cinnabar' that was once used by artists as a red pigment while painting.

Noon fly - by Kenneth Bentley

This fly is a easily identifiable with the black and gold colouring. It breeds in dung!

Rosemary beetle - Kenneth Bentley

Not a friend of gardeners the rosemary beetle, but this stunning little green and pink beetle is only looking for some tasty lunch of rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme and other similar plants.  It's native and common to southern Europe, North Africa, the Near East and the Middle East but was first found living in the UK in 1994!

Green bottle - Kenneth Bentley

Look how stunning a green bottle is when you look close up!

Small magpie moth - by Lawrence Rogers

A common but rather unusual moth, the small magpie easily disturbed by day and often attracted to light. 

Woundwort shield bug - by Andy Reid

Shield bugs are also know as stink bugs as they can produce foul smelling liquid as a defence mechanism to deter potential predators. The nymphs and adults have piercing mouthparts, which most use to suck sap from plants, although some eat other insects.

Hairy Shield bug - by Andy Reid

You can see why this species is called the hairy sheild bug!

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Spider warning

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Personally I think they are amazing, but I thought I would warn you!

These are jumping spiders by Andy Reid.

These pictures are of the fantastic Marpissa Muscosa the fence-post jumping spider - I think they are cute!

The male is 6 to 8 millimeters long, the female 8 to 11 millimeters. They nest under loose bark of trees, and several females make nests close together without getting into conflicts. Up to 100 nests have been found together! They have a social structure including a hierarchy! The weaker animals will greet more powerful ones and then retreat.

They are quite fascinating - they can jump about 25 centimeters in one jump. Adults of both sexes can be spotted from April to September, while females most of the year.

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