Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 01/05/2011

Just exactly who’s who?

I manage to find some spare time today to look up a number of insects that I’ve recently spotted around our garden, all of which were new species to me.  I’m now totally confused as to what is actually what.  Birds I know, animals I’m good at identifying but when the bug world mis-names their own species.. well, that’s just not cricket.
So I’ve seen a wasp that looks like a beetle, a beetle that looks like a wasp and a fly that looks like a bee!  Of them all, the Ruby tailed wasp that was flying amongst the garden hedgerow this morning is definitely the prettiest of them all.  With an iridescent metallic ruby/pink abdomen and emerald green thorax, despite it’s diminutive size it was hard to miss in the clear bright spring sunlight.  A real treat, but don’t get excited – I didn’t have my camera with me so there won’t be on flickr (which is a shame because it really is a wonderful insect).
Not quite as richly coloured as the Ruby-tailed wasp but no less interesting was the beetle purporting to be a wasp, the aptly named Wasp Beetle!  I had a closer than expected encounter with this species, it somehow found it’s way inside my shirt when I was sitting outside!  You can imagine my shock when I first  caught sight of the creature, as my first reaction was W…A…S…P… ! The beetle really does resemble a wasp on first glances, but then as we’re finding in the insect world, things are never what they seem.
This couldn’t be more true with the last of today’s subjects the fly with delusions of grandeur, pretending to be a bee, the imaginatively named Bee Fly.  Now there’s no real chance of mistaking these for their name sakes, they get their name from the mass of brown hairs on their abdomen making them look similar to a Carder Bee.
I’m sure that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to insects in the area that are waiting for me to identify them.  I’ve got a roll of name badges so when they’re ready, I’ll be able to give them a name tag.. the first one is going to be called Norman!

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