Welcome to my blog

This is where I post various musings about wildlife and ecology, observations of interesting species (often invertebrates)
and bits of research that grab my attention. As well as blogging, I undertake professional ecological & wildlife surveys
covering invertebrates, plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and some mammals, plus habitat assessment and management
. I don't work on planning applications/for developers. The pages on the right will tell you more about my work,
main interests and key projects, and you can follow my academic work here.

Thursday 2 June 2011

Water meadow wonders

As summer seems to have returned to southern England, I thought I'd offer something a bit lighter and essentially photographic rather than any in-depth diagnostic morphology or analyses of gall contents (though these will return...). Instead, here's a selection of splendid invertebrates from Ovington water meadows near Winchester - the site is managed for nature conservation and is a centuries-old water meadow system of sluice-controlled channels, grasslands, scrub and mill-stream. Enjoy!

Starting with the flies (Diptera):

The Noon-fly (Mesembrina meridiana) often seen basking - distinctive yellow-gold wing-bases on an otherwise black fly. This one was busily engaged in leg-cleaning behaviour.

A hoverfly of the genus Helophilus feeding from umbellifer flowers.

The stilt-legged fly Calobata petronella perched on a leaf.

 And of course some beetles (Coleoptera):

A splendid Red-headed Cardinal beetle, Pyrochroa serraticornis

An (IMO) even more splendid longhorn beetle, Agapanthia villosoviridescens

Guarding its patch of umbellifer flower, a soldier beetle of the genus Cantharis.

One of the Donacia reed beetles - in my specialist area, the family Chrysomelidae. Look out for a post on Donacia soon, including colour variants from this site.
 Now onto a possibly less familiar group, the scorpion-flies (Mecoptera):

A female of the genus Panorpa - the males have a scorpion-like tail with genital capsule raised at the end.
 And finally, I couldn't look at a wetland ecosystem without at least one specimen of Odonata:

To humans, a lovely Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens; to small invertebrates, fearsome flying jaws!
I hope you enjoyed my photographic interlude - something a little more in-depth coming this way soon...


  1. Lovely! I really like the stripes on that hoverfly and the incredibly blue blue of the damselfly.

  2. Thanks - my personal fave was the longhorn - I'm an unashamed beetle-nerd and just gotta love those banded antennae :)