Monday, 18 June 2012

A puzzle and a quiz

Late yesterday afternoon, we were sat out in the garden, enjoying a pint of something medicinal, when I spied an insect on a rose bush. Not having seen its like before and with my curiosity suitably piqued, I scoured Chinery's 'Insects of Britain and Western Europe' for an ID.


I couldn't find anything that matched, but given the creature's upside down orientation (yes, it was that way up, I hadn't drunk that much, thank you) and the fact that it appeared to be egg-laying, I assumed it was some sort of sawfly.

Unfortunately, though there's about 28 sawflies in the book, none were quite correct for our new guest. So I gave up and went back to my pint. This evening, however, I persevered and resorted to that fount of nearly all knowledge, Google Images.

It turns out that it was a female Large Rose Sawfly, Arge pagana, and she was slowly working her way down the stem, cutting a slit with her ovipositor as she went, into which she inserted her eggs.

Well, that was my detective work for the evening, now it's your turn...

After the sawfly episode, we'd returned indoors, but a little later, I looked out of the window and noticed something on the lawn, struggling to eat a newt.

Was it:

1. a Heron?

2. a Grass snake?

3. a Hedgehog?

4. a Magpie?

5. none of the above?

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Predictably, the answer is going to be a bit more complicated than that, because the creature that was struggling to eat the newt wasn't the animal that finally ate it.

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Here's the struggler...

Blackbird (Turdus merula) and Smooth Newt (Triturus vulgaris)
I don't know how the Blackbird caught the newt, whether it managed to grab it from the pond, or whether the newt left the water and was ambushed in the grass. Either way, the bird couldn't quite figure out why this fat worm had legs and spent ages trying to devour it. Eventually, all the commotion attracted the attention of another predator, a Magpie, and it consumed the unfortunate amphibian.

2 comments:

holdingmoments said...

The puzzle at the end had my interest Graeme.
I was saw, and pictured, a Blackbird with a newt, at the hide, over Willen. Couldn't believe it.

Imperfect and tense said...

So our sightings are obviously not isolated incidents, then. However, it was newts to me.

Sorry.