Sunday, 14 May 2017

Wall Street

Yesterday, I went to Pevensey Levels in search of the Wall (Lasiommata megera). There is a particular track where I know that I will see plenty of megera activity and where earlier this week I saw four males holding territories over a relatively short distance. On this visit, the Wall was joined on the street by two freshly emerged Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) males. These closely related species both hold territories in similar ways and they can often be seen battling together along this track.
 
 
Wall (Lasiommata megera) (male)
 

 
 
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) (male)

 
 
After an hour of walking slowly back and forth along the track, I saw my main quarry of the day. A freshly emerged female Wall was flying towards me. It was inevitable that she would soon fly into the territory of one of the males. 
 
 
Wall (L.megera) (female) 

 
 
Courtship in this species can be a brief affair and from first meeting to coupling took less than 15 seconds. After taking a few photographs I encouraged them to move off the track and left them in peace to ensure the next generation.
 
 
Wall (L.megera) (courtship and mating)




 
 
30 minutes later, I encountered the female again. She was easily recognisable due to a slight deformity in the hind corner of her left forewing, probably caused by expanding her wings against a grass blade. I watched her regularly resting on the track and nectaring at buttercup, common vetch and hawthorn flowers.
 
 
Wall (L.megera) (female nectaring at buttercup)



 
 
Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) (teneral male)

 

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