A Quick Garden Safari!

So this is a different format from what I’ve previously been posting, but seems a better way to share the things I saw today. I might create individual pages for each species at some point, simply because I like to organise and categorise things.

I went outside for about half an hour in my parent’s garden to have a quick look at what I could find. There have been a lot of caterpillars in the garden over the past week or so and I went to check the Nasturtiums where they are normally found. No sign of the caterpillars at first, but then I noticed this little bug on one of the stalks:

What’s really annoying me is that I can’t remember what this is but have definitely seen a picture of it recently! It’s not in my wildlife guide and I can’t find it on the internet. Hopefully someone on Flickr will identify it, or please comment if you know what it is. (**UPDATE** Someone identified it for me on Flickr as a Ladybird larva – I was identifying ladybirds the other day and knew it looked familiar!)

You can also see lots of little black things on the stalk in the photo. These are hundreds and hundreds of little bugs which have hatched on the stalks. I didn’t notice them at first and moved a Nasturtium stem – which left loads of them squashed on my fingers.

You can see how many there are in this photo, and that is just one stem! They might be too small to properly identify and anyway, once things get that small they become a bit featureless and I lose interest in knowing exactly what it is.

The caterpillars had clearly moved on from the Nasturtiums they had originally been on, but there was another Nasturtium plant by the pond which I had a look at. The caterpillars I found last week were mainly from Large White Butterflies (Pieris brassicae) aka Cabbage White. However some of them were from the Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae) also aka Cabbage White. The first one I found today was a caterpillar of Pieris rapae:

This one is less interesting to look at than other caterpillars but I think it becomes a lot more interesting when you compare it to other caterpillars, particularly the caterpillar of the Large White Butterfly. You can see in the same Small White caterpillar in the photo below. To the left is a caterpillar of the Large White:

They look so different now, yet in a couple of weeks they will both be white butterflies with fairly similar black markings. It’s strange how they will look similar and fill the same ecological niche, but currently each species has found it  much more advantageous in their respective forms.

Moving on from the caterpillars, I began to browse the ground looking for anything I could see. One of the first things I noticed was this spider crawling around in a bit the garden which is quite overgrown. I thought it had quite an interesting abdomen and I took some photos, of which this was the best. The lighting was really poor because of leaves casting shadows and it being a cloudy day, and I am not good enough to work out how to fix that with the camera. Anyway, I was zooming in on the photo once I had uploaded it and I realised that the strange markings are because it is carrying it’s young on it’s back! The species is Pardosa lugubris, a type of wolf spider.

The next species I saw was this thing:

I think it is a caterpillar, but have no idea of the species so let me know if you can identify it!

There are lots of bricks lying around the garden which are always home to something. I lifted up a couple of bricks I found and this was lying under one of them. Some spiders leg it as soon as you stick a camera in their face, but this one calmly sat there and let me take some photos. I’m not certain of the identification, but am leaning towards Lace Webbed Spider, because of the appearance and the webbing under the brick. There are a lot of different spider species in the UK, but nearly always people only see the Garden and House spiders. It’s really interesting to see these two species today which are very different from the usual, especially the Wolf Spider carrying it’s young.

And that was pretty much everything of note! I did also see a species of Caddis Fly, a Ladybird and a Garden Spider (surprise!) and you can check out the posts on them if you want to see some more photos. I hope you enjoyed the read!

About TomPh1991

Interested in wildlife and photography: https://amateurwildlife.wordpress.com/
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