I am indebted to a good friend of this blog, Samuel Levy for the amazing pictures here. Regular readers of our Tweets of the week will know Samuel regularly features. He is best known for his pictures and blogs featuring local (and not so local) birds. Samuel recently tweeted a picture of a Wasp spider that caught my imagination. I asked Samuel if he'd be so kind as to send me a few pictures of other interesting insects that you may happen upon in the Valley. I was not disappointed I hope that you enjoy these and if you have your own, please share them with us.
Lets start with the Spider that started the whole thing off. This is Samuels pic of a Wasp Spider in the Totteridge Valley
The Wasp SpiderThe Wildlife Trusts website says -
"The wasp spider is a very large, colourful spider that is a recent arrival in the UK from the continent and has slowly spread over the south of England. It builds large orb webs in grassland and heathland, and attaches its silk egg-sacs to the grasses. The web has a wide, white zig-zag strip running down the middle, known as a 'stabilimentum', the function of which is unclear. Mating is a dangerous game for males; they wait at the edge of the web until the female has moulted into a mature form, then take advantage of her jaws being soft and rush in to mate. However, many males still get eaten during this time."
Whenever we hear the word "Hornet" we always imagine a terrifying large insect. However the Sussex wildlife trust are keen to correct this misconception. They say "There's little doubt that the European hornet, Vespa crabro, is a rather fearsome looking insect. But this ferocious exterior betrays a species that is in fact rarely aggressive. Unlike their infamous relatives, hornets are unlikely to disrupt your picnic. Their sheer size - between 2-3 cm's for workers and males, 3-4 cm's for queens - and riotous buzz can however make them an intimidating proposition. They're our largest and most impressive eusocial wasp species, displaying the very highest level of organisation of animal sociality and frequently more than doubling the size of our more familiar common wasp, Vespular vulgaris. Both belong to the order Hymenoptera, comprising bees, wasps, ants and sawflies. " They continue
Rose Chafer.UK Safari website says of the Rose Chafer