2018 in Insects December 27, 2018January 19, 2019Grantham Ecology1 Comment This is a quick roundup of some of my favourite insect encounters of 2018 – there are some beautiful and highly varied species in the UK which reward the close observer! These are variously known as feather-footed or hairy-footed flower bee and are one of the first species to appear in the spring. The males are females are a dark black whilst the males are a rusty brown and spend much of their time searching out females to mate with – a female happily feeding on a flower will often have 2-3 males hovering at a not-so-discreet distance waiting to pounce when they think the moment is right! Common blue butterflies at Holwell Nature Reserve (Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust) A dead bumblebee at Bedford Purleis NNR which has been found by a party of wood ants who were very slowly transporting it back to their nest An enormous roman snail at Aston Clinton Ragpits – these are the largest snails in the UK and are around the size of a golf ball! Bee flies are excellent bumblebee mimics which appear early in the season – they parasitise the nests of solitary bees by flicking their eggs into the entrance hole. This one is hovering at a garlic mustard flower to feed. Hornets may have a fearsome reputation but they are quite charming creatures up close – this one was trapped overnight and needed a sweet treat to help it back on its way the next day! This year saw temperatures remain relatively mild all the way through to December – this wasp was photographed on ivy flowers just 12 days before Christmas! With its mottled green and white underwings, the orange-tip butterfly is beautifully camouflaged on a cow parsley flower to spend the night This amazing wasp had captured a spider, removed its legs and was busy taking it back to its nest sight – a rather grusome but truly impressive sight! This common blue butterfly was settled on a dandelion clock to wait out a rain shower along the Peddar’s Way A cockchafer beetle – just about to take flight – in this photo it has just opened its wing-casings to reveal the wings beneath A red-tailed bumblebee male leaving a knapweed flower A marbled white settled amongst the dry grasses of a mid-summer meadow A cinnebar moth amongs the grass in early summer A devil’s coachorse – these ground beetles will raise their tail to threaten any intruder in a quite convinving show of bravado! A small copper settled on a yarrow flower in early autumn Mother shipman moth feeding in a sheltered valley just north of Grantham which is swathed in species-rich limestone grassland flowers Memories of summer lunchtime walks in the meadows above Grantham – the long drought gave the grasslands a parched appearance but they were still buzzing with life including this leafcutter bee Pollinators beware – you’d need to be on high alert to spot this beautifully camouflaged spider lying in wait on a yarrow flower!