3 Aug 2014

3 Aug 14 - Beautiful, Black, Blue & Emerald

With no joy in the first 2 bogs tried, I carried on into Rempstone Forest to check out the final local historical site for Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly. En route, there were a few commoner Dragonflies, Butterflies & a Wasp Spider. For those of you that don't like Spiders, well don't go to the bottom of the post. But best to continue as this is one of the best looking UK Spiders. But first there was a great Helice Clouded Yellow. Clouded Yellows are a great migrant Butterfly that appear in varying numbers in Dorset. A smaller variable percentage come in the pale Helice form. This only affects females (like the Valesina Silver-washed Fritillaries), but I've yet to understand why only females have this aberration.
Clouded Yellow: Helice female. A percentage of the females have a pale form know as a Helice, where the butterfly is much paler than the normal dark yellow colouration. They are even whiter on the upperwing
Clouded Yellow: This is the typical form taken at Fontmell Down as part of the same recent invasion (30 July 14)
Common Blue
Common Blue
There were also a few Black Darters, Common Darters, Beautiful Demoiselles & a good selection of Emerald Damselflies. But unfortunately, the Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly site was as dry as a bone. So no chance of any there.
Black Darter: Male
Common Darter: Female
Common Darter: Female closeup of the face. The black line above the frons (nose) does not turn down by the side of the eyes & this is diagnostic of Common Darters: it turns down in all the other species
Common Darter: Female. the 2 yellow bands on the side of the thorax also confirms it is a Common Darter
Beautiful Demoiselle: Male
Emerald Damselfly: Male. The pale blue covering the first 2 segments in Emerald Damselfly & the pterostigma are long & relatively thin separate this from a Scarce Emerald Damselfly (which has the pale blue over the first & half of segment 2. Scarce Emerald also has a broader, shorter pterostigma
Emerald Damselfly: Female.
Emerald Damselfly: Female. Emerald Damselfly has a narrow white stripe on the side of the thorax and an isolated green spot just above the middle leg. Scarce Emerald does not have the green spot and the white stripe on the side of the thorax
Emerald Damselfly: Immature female
Emerald Damselfly: Immature female. Just about possible to see the green spot & the orange side stripe on the thorax
Finally, the Wasp Spider. I remember seeing my first Wasp Spiders at Radipole in the early 80s. In those days, they were apparently reasonable well established on the Kent to Dorset coastline, having only been found for the first time in the UK in 1922 in Rye, Sussex. I don't know how they got there in the first place from the continent. They have expanded their range considerably since & are now well established from Cornwall to Suffolk, with scattered localities elsewhere as far as Birmingham.
Wasp Spider: Female. This is a female, the males are much smaller than this large Spider