Wednesday, 4 June 2008

More Winged things.

Now that the Echiums are in full flower they are full of bees. I know that bees are having a poor time at the moment, with large reductions in the population of some Bumble Bee species and also in commercial Honey Bees, but the area around our "Echium Forest" is alive with their humming.
When you look at a picture of a Bumble Bee, in this case Bombus hortorum flying you can understand why some one said that by the laws of physics they can't fly. Einstein was a clever chap so when he said "If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." it was something that was worth thinking about. The only problem is he didn't say it. Like many a quote this one appears to have been attributed to Einstein to lend it an air of authority. As it happens, there’s a grain of truth to the apocryphal quote, and the apocalyptic overtones aren’t far off the mark. Bees are such an important pollinator that without them food prices wood rocket.

While I was watching the bees I noticed this small fly. Being pretty ignorant about fly species I didn't immediately recognise it , but I found it in my Garden Wildlife book. It is a female Scorpion Fly, Panorpa communis. A strange-looking insect, the male of which has a scorpion-like, upturned abdomen. It has a weak flight and at rest holds wings flat. The head has beak-like downward projection that is used in feeding. It scavenges dead animals, including the contents of spiders' webs, and ripe fruit. Seen May-July in hedgerows and Gardens often among brambles.

1 comment:

John Young said...

Brilliant shot of the bee. Bumblebees have been all over my garden recently in foxgloves and cotoneaster.