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Watsonalla cultraria
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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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This forum has now been more or less replaced by the Club's Facebook page at
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The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more

Wed 28th August 2013 19:30 by Peter Pearson
Wasps and Ants
To avoid wasps in the house my wife and I don’t put out wasp traps, we leave a little jam or honey in a jar down the garden, the wasps, and other insects love it and do not seem to bother us.
Unfortunately we did not reckon on the recent heavy rain which flooded the jar and drown many of the wasps feeding in it.
The jam jar stood on a wrought iron pot stand and as some of the wasps were still alive I tipped them out into the pot holder. Those survivors that were able crawled out to dry and eventually flew off.
Next day I inspected the tray and found that it was being visited by wasps which were exhibiting strange behaviour. They were apparently going over the carcasses, probably cleaning them of the remains of honey that they had drowned in. But then they decapitated the corpses to access the flesh in the thorax.

This is where the ants came in. They too were going over the dead wasps again probably to clean up the sweet residue. However, the amazing thing was that the ants began picking up the severed heads and carrying them off down the legs of the pot stand and across the garden. It was peculiar to suddenly see a wasps head coming up over the rim of the holder. A first you couldn't see the ant just the head moving along.

Ant with Wasps Head Copyright: Peter Pearson
Sat 17th August 2013 17:38 by Richard Bigg
Re; UID Ladybirds
Thank you Peter
Fri 16th August 2013 19:56 by Peter Harvey
Re: UID ladybirds
Yes, I would say these are Harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis. They are the pupae.

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Fri 16th August 2013 09:54 by Richard Bigg
UID ladybirds
Can anyone ID this Ladybird please?? I have found a number of them on honeysuckle in my garden. I think they might be one of the Harlequin variety (or they might not ). Is this a "skin" being shed ?? I would like to know if they are "friend" or "foe". Have uploaded photos "UID Ladybirds" 1, 2 and 3, but don't know how to get them on to the Forum. Richard
Mon 12th August 2013 15:22 by Colin Shields
White Admiral Butterfly
White Admiral butterfly seen between 7th July -1st August 2013. Seen in my South Benfleet Garden ( Probably from Thundersley Glen ) Three together on 14th Two together on 18th and 24th
Wed 7th August 2013 17:49 by Peter Pearson
Puss Moth Caterpillar
On Tuesday my wife and I visited Heybridge. Walking from the car park to the lock we searched the trees beside the footpath. Finding nibbled leaves on a willow we searched for the cause and eventually found the Puss Moth caterpillar pictured below

Parasitised caterpillar Copyright: Peter Pearson

At first sight the leaf it was on appeared to be covered with a "spiders web", but close examination revealed that the caterpillar was on a bed of chrysalis'. 
Imagine our shock when as we watched the grub on it's back suddenly emerged.
Looking at the photograph the emergence burrows, of the other grubs, can be seen randomly dotted along the caterpillars side.


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