Showing posts from May, 2012

St Marks Fly: Bibio marci

St Marks Fly: Bibio marci, a photo by Peter Orchard on Flickr. St Marks day is the 25th April and it is about then that this fly emerges as an adult and can be seen in woodland across Dorset. That is where it gets its name from, St Marks Fly or Bibio marci.

It is quite a common insect of the spring and quite often will be seen in large numbers. They are quite distinctive when in flight as their legs hang down and when the weather is cooler or shady they rest on leaves as they await for the warmth of the sun to get them going again.They are jet black with big brown eyes and, overall, have a glossy appearance.

They are only active for about three weeks and then they are gone. They lay their eggs in leaf litter and rotting vegeatation and this is where the larva spends its life, helping to break down the leaves on the woodland floor.

Find out more about the nature of Dorset at Marks Fly

Bumblebee: Bombus hypnorum

Bumblebee: Bombus hypnorum, a photo by Peter Orchard on Flickr. Nature is always changing. The population of some species are rapidly declining (the cuckoo for example) whereas as others are expanding (like the little egret). We have new species colonising our countryside which are a concern (the harlequin ladybird) and others that are a welcome addition to our fauna. This bumblebee is certainly one of the later.

Bombus hypnorum has steadily expanded its range across Europe in recent years and was first recorded in the United Kingdon in 2,000 (perhaps we should call this the Millenium bee?). It seems to have an affinity to urban areas and woodland habitat of all kinds and it is expected to become widespread and common across the whole country in time which is a refreshing change as some species of bumblebee are now considred extinct in the United Kingdom.

I saw these for the first time in Puddletown Forest (May 2012), an area I would not rate highly for wildlife interest and yet there we…