Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nature Notes: Animals at the Botanical Garden

We used the gorgeous weather this weekend for a visit to the botanical garden and apart from lots of flowers (I'll show you next week), there were a ton of critters around.
Two mating hoverflies, maybe Eristalis arbustorum. You can see how the eyes of the males meet while the female has a gap between them, that's how you can tell male and female hoverflies apart.

Another hoverfly, Eristalis tenax - a drone fly. They imitate honey bees, but like all hoverflies they cannot sting. The larvae of this species live in mud and even in liquid manure, which earned the species the German names Schlammfliege (mud fly) and Mistbiene (Manure Bee).

The squirrels were very busy harvesting nuts and seeds and burying them for the winter.

A harvestman enjoys the sun (possibly Phalangium opilio). They are arachnids, but not spiders. Typical for them is the small hill with the eyes on top (although not all species have it). Harvestmen are omnivores and will eat anything from insects to carrion to plant matter. All species have scent glands and if disturbed, will secrete a substance with a peculiar smell. They cannot produce silk and they don't have venom glands. The myth that harvestmen are the deadliest animal worldwide is just plain wrong.
I quite like them, with their body suspended between those endless legs and their button eyes.

Nature Notes is hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods

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