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Garden Bioblitz 1st June 2014

We decided to take part in the Garden BioBlitz this weekend and so, on Sunday afternoon with camera in hand, we took a two hour jaunt around the garden to see what we could see. Aside from all the usual birds that chomp away on the feeders, we spotted quite a few other garden visitors; most are welcome but a couple perhaps not so much if you are trying to grow vegetables! Here are a few of the sightings… hope I have the Latin names right!

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Enough bees… three flies!

I have been enjoying a love affair with bumblebees this year but I did also see some pretty impressive flies too. Here are three of my favourites:

Tachina grossa Hailey Park, Cardiff. August.

Tachina grossa Hailey Park, Cardiff. August.

Tachina grossa: The giant tachinid fly is very large (~20mm) and rather distinctive with its jet black, hairy body, bright yellow head and huge eyes. The tachinid flies are parasites; the female lays her eggs on moth or butterfly caterpillars then the fly larvae hatch out and devour their host from the inside out, which isn’t a pleasant thought.

Lucilia cuprina Hailey Park, Cardiff. September.

Lucilia cuprina Hailey Park, Cardiff. September.

Lucilia cuprina: Nobody likes these flies but this specimen is attractive when seen close up, in my opinion. The female greenbottle fly lays her eggs in meat, fish, corpses, infected wounds and excrement. The maggots feed on decomposing tissue and are occasionally used to debride human tissue. But apart from that… 🙂

Phasia hemiptera Pontisili Reservoir, Brecons. August.

Phasia hemiptera Pontisili Reservoir, Brecons. August.

Phasia hemiptera: Another member of the tachinid family, this is a stunning fly and looks like something dreamt up by Hans Rudolph Geiger with its metallic wings; the colour indicates that this is a male. Unfortunately, the female parasitises one of my favourite insects, the shield bug.

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