Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)
Fri 5 - Mon 8 Aug 2005 (Part 4)
So caterpillars like this don't only exist in books! This magnificent creature is known as the Pebble Prominent. The young ones on the right are an unknown species skeletonising a Grey Willow leaf.
Some beetles from the sand dunes. Broscus cephalotes and the weevil Otiorhynchus atroapterus, which has its tibiae flattened for digging in the sand.
This is the beetle Nebria salina dragging around, and eating, a dead Geotrupes vernalis, a sand-dune version of the Dor Beetle. The 11-spot Ladybird is on Creeping Thistle.
The shells of the Heath Snail, Helicella itala, were liberally scattered across the sand. This is a live one. The solitary mining bee Colletes succinctus, here shown on Juniper, nests in the sand.
These are the larvae and one adult of the Spear Thistle Lacebug, Tingis cardui. The adult is the brown one near the bottom left corner. The green bugs on the Creeping Thistle flower are the Potato Capsid, Calocoris norvegicus. We also saw the Forest Bug, Pentatoma rufipes, which has already been shown on this site.
An Emperor Moth caterpillar on Meadowsweet. This one has yellowish spots whereas the one I saw previously on Skye, which is featured at the top left of this site's home page, had purple ones, to disguise itself among the heather flowers. The spider is Enoplognatha ovata with its egg sac in a den it's made by sewing up a Hogweed leaf.
This is the hoverfly Arctophila superbiens, further north than it had ever been recorded before. The Peltigera lichen which was common on the sand was thought to be P didactyla, but I can't confirm that with certainty. Strangely there were no apothecia to be seen on it anywhere, but I did not notice any isidia or soredia either. It has a persistent appressed tomentum over the whole upper surface. On the underside, as well as short tufted rhizines of the normal kind, it also had long branched filaments attaching it to the sand grains.
Tiny red dots in the sand, that I at first thought were baby Waxcaps, turned out to be the Eyelash Fungus, Scutellinia scutellata or something similar. There are many kinds, and this one had eyelashes to 1/4 mm long, whereas S scutellata has them to 1 mm. The cracked fungi in the middle are not yet identified. They start off black, then get paler and start to crack. The spores are the colour of milky coffee, the gills adnexed, the flesh whitish-grey. They were growing in short grazed grass. The white puffball was on the sand - not yet id'd. Spines convergent at tips in groups of 3 or 4, spores earthy brown.
Finally this woodland fungus was so beautiful it deserves to be shown from two angles. It's thought to be Polyporus badius.
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer