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ShareMondays2019 – Beauty And The Beast

Ichneumonid parasitoid wasp and common blue butterfly

ShareMondays2019 – Beauty And The Beast

The beauty is a common blue butterfly, a real favourite of mine! The beast in question is an Ichneumonid wasp. They are parasitoids, meaning that their larvae infect and feed on other invertebrates, eventually killing the host. I think this particular wasp is Apechthis compunctor, which lays its’ eggs in the pupae of butterflies. The adult often emerges from the butterfly itself. No small wonder that I would see them at NT Denbies Hillside, amidst the wonderful array of blue and copper butterflies that were on the wing. I can’t be 100% on my ID as these insects aren’t a specialist knowledge of mine, also there are well over 2000 species of ichneumonids in the UK! Watching this wasp actually fly right up to the common blue that I was photographing was fascinating, even though it gave me the creeps. I just kept photographing, hoping that I could capture a shot that told a story of the interrelationship between invertebrate species. This has to be my story and photograph of the week, even if there is an undercurrent of horror about it! Ecology is all about the interrelationships within specific ecosystems. Every time I get to watch something like this I learn more.

Ichneumonid parasitoid wasp and common blue butterfly

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Brimstone On Bluebells

Brimstone On Bluebells

Brimstone On Bluebells

I think the sight of British bluebells in Spring is only completed when adorned with a brimstone butterfly! This sight is definitely one of my favourite things 🙂

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Blooming Butterflies

Blooming Butterflies

Blooming Butterflies

There were so many small copper and common blue butterflies still on the wing last week at Heather Farm Wetlands Centre, a part of Horsell Common. They’re not hard to find either, you just have to look around the clumps of this yellow flowering plant, called common fleabane. It’s been practically blooming butterflies throughout the season! Can’t resist putting this in for this week’s WexMondays challenge. Lovely to be out chasing so many butterflies in the middle of September!

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Blue Monday: Of Dust Motes And Dreams

Of Dust Motes And Dreams

Blue Monday: Of Dust Motes And Dreams

The late holly blue butterflies are still flitting about our waterways, gathering near the budding ivy where this generation lay their eggs. There are still wildflowers blooming along the Wey Navigation canal path where I spotted this, and other males, seeking nectar. The beautiful light, streaming through the trees to shine on this tattered little beauty, inspired the poet in me again.

Of Dust Motes And Dreams

Tattered
Torn
A little worn
And weathered

Jaded
Faded hues

Summer blues
And greens
Flickering
In light streams

Flimsy
Frayed
At the rim

Paper-thin wings
Still holding on

Fragile
Yet strong
Agile in flight

Daintily alight
Upon wild
Bowing blooms
As dusk looms

Steadfast sprite
Drink deep
This sweet
Ambrosia

Stave off
The long sleep

Withering
Diminishing
Last notes
Of a hushed song

Impression retained
In glittering
Sunbeams

Flittering away
To dust motes
And dreams

This is my entry for this week’s WexMondays challenge. Good luck to all taking part!

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Say It With Flowers

Common Blue Courtship

Say It With Flowers

The recent rains have brought green back to the slopes of Box Hill, along with a wealth of wildflowers! It was rather lovely to watch these male (left) and female (right) common blue butterflies courting each other upon the wild marjoram flower buds. Sadly their dance of love never reached it’s conclusion as the courting couple were rudely interrupted by a busy bee!

Common Blue Courtship

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Blue Monday: Holly Blue

Holly Blue

Blue Monday: Holly Blue

This is my entry for the Fotospeed challenge this week. I was really thrilled to count eleven holly blue butterflies along a short stretch of the Thames, near Sunbury Lock, for this year’s Big Butterfly Count. It’s a perfect habitat for them with plenty of their larval food plants; holly, ivy and hawthorn. This is the second generation of hollies in flight this year, females will be looking to lay their eggs next to the emerging flower buds on ivy. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a third generation in flight this year!