Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)

Mon 11 Jul 2005

Acalitus rudis   Massalongia rubra

Two galls on Downy Birch.  The first is caused by the mite Acalitus rudis, and the second, which makes the leaf midrib woody, is the work of the gall-midge Massalongia rubra.

Iteomyia capreae   Phacellium rufibasis on Myrica gale

I think this Willow gall is Iteomyia capreae and I now think the one on 22.8.04 was Iteomyia major.  This one has the galls far more individually spaced, and very seldom coalesced, in fact often there was just one gall per leaf although the leaf in the picture has several.  On the right is the fungus Phacellium rufibasis (= Ramularia destructiva) on Bog Myrtle.  The left-hand leaf has been turned round by hand to show the underside, and the right-hand leaf shows the topside, together with the golden glands that give the leaf its scent.

Tue 12 Jul 2005

SWT field trip to Bay in Waternish.  We forded the river and walked along the shore for a bit, then through grass and bracken and then up into the wooded area below the escarpment of Sgurr a'Bhaigh, where there are rock pinnacles similar to those of the Quiraing or the Fairy Glen in Uig, and a wooded corrie between them and the cliffs.  It was raining during the middle part of our walk but dry at each end.

Gastrophysa viridula larvae on Rumex obtusifolius   Gastrophysa viridula adult

Gastrophysa viridula adult

All the leaves of Broad-leaved Dock within a large area had been skeletonised by the larvae of the Green Dock Beetle, Gastrophysa viridula.  The black larvae can be seen on the lower leaf; the other two pictures show the adult beetle.

Dactylorhiza - possible hybrid tbc   Wallow of Cervus elaphus

There was a patch of very varied Dactylorhiza orchids containing all 3 of the common kinds: Northern Marsh, Common Spotted and Heath Spotted, and seemingly every kind of intergrade between them.  The above specimen was selected as the most likely to be a hybrid, and one flower of it was picked to send off to an expert.  Will announce the result here in due course.

The patch of mud is a Red Deer wallow.  At this time of year all the deer roll in it to coat themselves with mud to protect themselves from insects.  Also at rutting time the stags roll in the wallow and then rub themselves on trees etc to mark their territory.

Arctia caja - adult male   Noctua pronuba - adult female

It was good to find this Garden Tiger moth which normally flies at night and is less often seen than its Woolly Bear caterpillars.  The one on the right is also very colourful when it opens its rather drab forewings to reveal the hindwings which give it the name of Large Yellow Underwing.  But it would not oblige for the camera.

Aplocera plagiata   Mitopus morio

This is the Treble-bar Moth which lays eggs on St John's Wort.  The Harvestman is Mitopus morio but I can't find any information about the red mites.  Does anyone out there know if there are several kinds that parasitise Harvestmen, or only one, and if so what it's called?

There were a lot of Meadow Brown butterflies about and a few Common Blue.  Several Six-spot Burnet moths were seen on the wing, and a fine male Northern Eggar.

Panorpa germanica probably   Epichloe typhina agg   Barynotus moerens

This Scorpion-fly is almost certainly Panorpa germanica.  P communis is the only other possibility but it would be rare in this area and likely to have more black on the wings.  It was on the shore doing short flights between rocks and seaweed.  The yellow band on grass is the fungus Epichloe typhina or a closely related species.  On the right we have the weevil Barynotus moerens.  It was found on the ground and placed on a rock for the photo.

Arion subfuscus

This is the Dusky Slug, Arion subfuscus.  It leaves a trail of orange slime.

Many thanks to all who helped with identification, including Roger Cottis, Neil Roberts, Stephen Bungard and James Merryweather, and thanks to Neil for showing us such a superb and secret place.



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer