Friday, 20 April 2018

Water Stick-insect

What a difference a few days makes. After walking around last week looking for my first Spring emerging butterflies of the year in temperatures that were just getting into double figures; a week later and the temperature has soared into the high 20's. Since the weekend, numbers of emerging Small Whites and Orange-tips have accelerated but it is far too hot to chase them around for a photograph just yet.
Earlier this week I decided to check one of my favourite wealden ponds for signs of emerging damselflies but on this occasion I was rewarded with my first ever sighting of a Water Stick-insect (Ranatra linearis) climbing out of the water to bask on the pondside vegetation.
This underwater predator spends much of its time motionless amongst underwater foliage and is well adapted to its lifestyle. It has an air tube that extends from its tail and its front legs end in curved claws that are used to catch tadpoles and small fish.
Water Stick-insect (Ranatra linearis)
My garden moth-trap is now starting to attract species other than Quakers and Hebrew Characters and this morning's catch included a freshly emerged Mullein and also my second Brindled Beauty of the year.
Mullein (Shargacucullia verbasci)

Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria)

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