Wednesday 18 March 2020
And then there was one
What a difference the sunshine made yesterday when I saw notably more insects and other kinds of wildlife in the garden than I had been expecting. Today's weather is not dissimilar, but I missed the only fleetingly sunny spell, and consequently was 'rewarded' with a mere score of one, the tiny creature you see in the record shot above. My camera can just about cope with small insects in good light, but today's cloudy conditions were far from ideal.
But it seems to be an interesting sighting nevertheless. The plant is a wild Honeysuckle or Woodbine, and has earned its keep by being an excellent host in the past for insects such as Ruby-tailed Wasps, like this one, which was on my ladybird house one summer, beside the Woodbine.
Today's insect in the top photo (not the wasp above) was only a few millimetres long, possibly half a centimetre. I would describe its movement as a 'scuttle'. Centipedes, woodlice and earwigs came to mind, but it did not appear to be any of these. I thought the light brown patches might provide a clue, but it seems quite a lot of insects can boast this type of pigment.
I must add the photo to iSpot and see if help is at hand, but for now it seems to me that it might be a Rove beetle, perhaps at the nymph stage (update: 'nymph' is wrong- please read on). We have had Rove beetles in the garden before, but never so early in the season, and never above ground level. I hope I can solve today's little mystery.
Meanwhile, there are some good Rove beetle photos here, here and here. And thank you so much for yesterday's comments...
And now (20 April 2020), thank you so much for your new comments. Once again I will post Conehead's identification notes in case anyone misses them as it seems important to clear up an error on my part, an error I should never have made as I am familiar with ladybird instars and the like! ...
Conehead54 writes: Agree it's a species of rove beetle. However beetles don't have nymphs- only insects with an incomplete metamorhosis (eg true bugs, grasshoppers, dragonflies) have these. Beetles have a complete metamorphosis which means their immature stages are a series of larval instars that then pupate before becoming adult. The larvae of beetles (like caterpillar to moth or butterfly) look nothing like the adult.