top of page

BEETLESand True Flies, Bees, Wasps etc..

Dagnam Park's Beetles, most of these photos by DonTait.

The first two photos are Cardinal beetles. Below that is a Lily beetle for comparison. (This composite photo is from 3 separate unattributed images that I have downloaded from the internet) There are three British species of Cardinal and unusually for insects they are easily identified. The left hand one, Pyrochroa coccinea, has red thorax and abdomen but black head, the right hand photo by Dave Sampson is Pyrochroa serraticornis, its body is all red. The 3rd British species, Schizotus pectinicornis, is a rare northen species and is red with a black head and a black spot in the middle of the thorax. The Pyrochroa species can be up to 17mm, Schizotus is only about half of that.

Two of the British Cardinal beetles are superficially similar to the lily beetle. One of them is easy to separate because it has a red head. The other one has a black head like the Lily beetle. But it is a different shape. In the Lily beetle the wing cases when closed are broadest at the front and get narrower towards the back. The opposite is true in the Cardinals in which the closed wing cases get broader as you get towards the back. Sort of drop shaped. Lily beetles have prominent “square shoulders” and are glossy, Cardinals are dull there are many other differences. Cardinals are harmless and live in dead wood so you will find them around woodland. Lily beetles are serious pests on Lilies, Fritillaries and other plants in the Lily family so they tend to be found in gardens.

                                                                                              Del Smith

A true weevil of the family Curculionidae One of the largest families of animals in the world, over 86.000 species

Known as the Wasp Beetle (Clytus orietis) It is harmless and often seen on flower heads in the park. 9-13mm

A very scarce beetle assosciated with fungi This one was photographed on the fungus known as chicken of the woods. It is small 7-8mm long.

A Ground Beetle, Carabidae

A Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus humator)

The Family Elateridae genus Athous. Known as click beetles. If they fall on their backs after a short while and with an audible click they flick up in the air and with a bit of luck they land the right way up. The mechanism for this is similar to that of those metal clickers that we often found in Christmas crackers. At least we did in the 50s/60s.

Soldier Beetles Rhagonycha fulva occasionally called bloodsuckers or bonking beetles. They don't deserve the former name because they do not suck blood. Their other common name is well deserved and they are often seen on flower heads.

14 Spot Ladybird Propylea quattuordecimpunctata

Carabus violaceus, sometimes called the violet ground beetle, or the rain beetle.

Metallic beetles of the sub family (Donaciinae) can be found on aquatic vegetation

29-3-12. (Ocypus olens) known as the Devil's Coach Horse Beetle

Longhorn Beetle, Rutpela maculata, formerly known as Strangalia maculata.The adults are very variable in colour. The larva tunnel in dead wood.

The Soldier Beetle Cantharis rustica there are several very similar species

Cream Spot Ladybird Calvia quattuordecimguttata

The familiar Seven Spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata

Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) Larvae and adults which are extremely variable. Now well established across England.

The Common Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) photographed at the FoDP picnic. The first known record for Dagnam Park though it would have been common at least into the 1940s.

True Flies

True Flies (Diptera)

 The most well studied insects in the park with over one thousand different species recorded.

The Crane Fly genus Nephrotoma

This fly belongs to the family Dolichopodidae. It is called Poecilobothrus nobilitatus. This is a male and it uses it's white wing tips to signal to females. It is common in the park, large numbers can often be seen on wet mud.

This is a robber fly called Dioctria rufipes from the true fly family Asilidae. They are agressive predators and this one has captured a small fly.

A Tephritid Fly Anomoia purmunda. The adults often have patterned wings. The larvae of this species attack the fruits of Hawthorn.

Bee fly, Bombylius major, a true fly, the larvae are parasitic on bees.

A Hoverfly - Sphaerophoria scripta

This true fly belongs to the family Calliphoridae it includes blue and green bottles. The genus is Pollenia but that is as far as you can go from a photo. The genus has 8 British species all looking much the same, the golden hair is characteristic of the genus. They are parasitic on earthworms and are well known for clustering together in lofts for hibernation. Sometimes called cluster flies.

A Hoverfly, there are over 280 different species in Britain. This one is a member of the genus Platycheirus

Hoverfly Myathropa florea. Alan Shearman

There are some similar species in the park so pay careful attention to the colour pattern of the thorax and abdomen.

Tachinid Fly (Tachina fera)

A pair of true flies of the genus Sarcophaga. There are many similar species often seen on bare sunny ground. Length up to 16mm.

Another wasp mimic a Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) sometimes very numerous. Beneficial as the larve eat aphids. Wing length 6-10mm

More on Flies and Dung

While we are on flies I thought an old note that I had published years ago may be of interest. The note relates to flies but of course many other insects live in dung. They are all very important not only for breaking down the dung but they also often become food for birds and so the cycle continues. All the flies mentioned in the article are frequent in the park apart from Gasterophilus. ..Del Smith.

Flies and Dung

The only thing that you are sure to find if you walk through the countryside with your eyes shut is dung. And every heap of dung has its residents; on it, in it and under it. On it we will find adult flies, in it larval flies and quite often beneath it fly pupae. The flies that inhabit dung are many and varied and in these brief notes I hope to take the reader on a short visit to the enchanting world of the dung flies.
Dung flies are far more important than you would think. Without them we wouldn't just step in it occasionally, we would be up to our necks in it, and probably beyond. For the dung files do not accumulate on the dung merely for sunbathing, the purpose is far more serious than that. They assemble in pursuit of romance, the aroma calling them in to a lover's tryst. After brief preliminaries, mating takes place and then the female will lay her eggs in the dung and the early stages (the larva or maggot) will feed, consuming the dung with apparent relish. And so the cowpat has been the dance floor, the bedroom, the maternity ward, the restaurant and the kindergarten.
You may well feel that dung is dung and, if you should step in it, well, of course, it is all much of a muchness but if you were to eat it you would soon discern the subtle differences; from the smooth cowpat to the coarse horse dung, through to the rather strongly flavoured badger, dog and fox, right down to the rabbit, and for the delicate palate of some of the smaller flies we have bird droppings
The big furry golden dung fly Scathophaga stercoraria, will be found chiefly on cow dung, but occasionally on deposits of other mammals. Amongst these flies on cow pats you will also find the much smaller black flies that are loathe to take flight, preferring to run into the surrounding grasses. These are called Sphaerocerids, a large family with more than one hundred British species. Many Muscid type flies will also be found, including the very distinctive Mesembrina meridiana, a large shining black fly with orange bases to the wings. All three British biting muscids, including the stable fly, breed in dung. Some small acalypterate flies like the tiny yellow Chryomyid with green eyes, Chryomyia flava , thrive on bird droppings. Obviously these are the connoisseurs of the excreta eaters.
Now apart from those flies whose larvae actually consume the dung, there are, of course, those that consume the consumers. Many of the adult flies seen on the dung will actually have predatory larvae that will spend their larval stage seeking out the dung feeders for their own sustenance.
Mention should be made here of a dung frequenting pupa that finds itself amongst the dung almost by accident. This is the pupa of the internal parasite Gasterophilus which lives in the stomachs of horses as a larva and is excreted at the end of its larval development. It then finds itself deposited unceremoniously from a height of about three feet amongst a small heap of manure. On emergence the adult Gasterophilus leaves the dung never to return.
One could get the wrong idea about flies and dung. In fact only about 5% of our flies are associated with dung. So when you are eating lunch and a fly arrives for it's share remember only one in twenty has dirty feet. Deciding which one is the problem.

Bees, Wasps and Ants            (Hymenoptera)

Bees, Waspsad Ants etc

The following group of photos are all of Hymenoptera. The group includes all the bees, wasps and ants. These have all been identified by specialists. There are a huge number of different species,  just a few representatives are shown below. Accurate identification can rarely be done from photographs. Microscopical examination is necessary for most species.

Bombus hypnorum

Bombus pratorum

A parasitic wasp, some of these are known as ichneumon flies.

Bombos Lucrum

Honey Bee Apis mellifera

A sawfly, the larvae of this group look like moth caterpillars. Some are serious garden pests, the larve eating a variety of plants.

True Bugs and leafhoppers (Homoptera)

A true bug Leptoterna ferrugata or dolabrata

A True Bug, The shield bug   Palomena prasina

Squash Bug (Coreus marginatus) Squash bugs are true bugs of the family Coreidae. This species feeds mainly on Docks. 12-14mm.

A True Bug, Plagiognathus arbustorum. Often found on nettles

A true bug (Grypocoris stysi)

Some Insects from smaller orders

Scorpion fly, ( and opposite). Not a true fly but a member of the order Mecoptera. This is the genus Panorpa there are 3 very similar British species.

Meadow Grasshopper (Chorthippus parallelus)

Meadow Grasshoppers are very variable in colour all three above are the same species. There are several other common species all very similar.

Roesel's Bush Cricket (Metrioptera roeselii)

Speckled Bush Cricket Leptophyes punctatissima

Damselflies and Dragonflies(Odonata)

Damselfle

Dagnam Park's recorded Dragonflies. Photos (Underlined) by Don Tait, Dave Sampson and others, list provided by Dave Sampson and updated by Colin Jupp

Azure Damselfly  (Coenagrion puella)

Banded Demoiselle  (Calopteryx splendens)

Black Tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)

Blue Tailed Damselfly  (Ischnura elegans)

Broad Bodied Chaser  (Libellula depressa)

Brown Hawker  (Aeshna grandis)

Common Blue Damselfly  (Coenagrion cyathigerum)

Common Darter  (Sympetrum striolatum)

Emerald Damselfly  (Lestes sponsa)

Emperor Dragonfly  (Anax imperator)

Four Spotted Chaser  (Libellula quadrimaculata)

Large Red Damselfly  (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

Migrant Hawker or Scarce Aeshna (Aeshna mixta)

Red Eyed Damselfly  (Erythromma najas)

Ruddy Darter  (Sympetrum sanguineum)

Scarce Emerald Damselfly (Lestes dryas)

Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum)

Southern Aeshna  (Aeshna cyanea)

Willow Emerald Damselfly (Chalcolestes viridis)

Dragonfly Aeshna mixta.jpg

Migrant Hawker aka Scarce Aeshna (Aeshna mixta)

Dragonfly Large Red Damselfly 13-5-11 Don Tait.jpg

Large Red Damselfly  (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

Dragonfly Blue tailed Damselfly 13-6-12 Don Tait.jpg
Dragonfly Southern Aeshna Don Tait.jpg

Southern Aeshna  (Aeshna cyanea)

Blue Tailed Damselfly  (Ischnura elegans)

Dragonfly Male Banded Demoiselle 3-7-16 Don Tait.jpg

Banded Demoiselle Male (Calopteryx splendens)

Dragonfly Emperor reduced.jpg

Black Lined Skimmer ( Orthetrum cancellatum )

Dragonfly Common Darter D Sampson.jpg

Common Darter female (Sympetrum striolatum) photo Dave Sampson

Dragonfly Emperor 13-8-14 Don Tait.jpg

Emperor Dragonfly

Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)

Dragonfly Libellula depressa male D Sampson.jpg
Dragonfly Libellula depressa female D Sampson.jpg

The above two photos are firstly, a male Broad Bodied Chaser ( Libellula depressa) followed by the female. These are both pretty good photos by Dave Sampson. Sadly they were not taken in Dagnam Park. So here's the challenge for all the Dagnam Park snappers, beat this in 2012. This Dragonfly will be found on most ponds in the park and especially about the round pond during the summer. Enter your photos via Don Tait's facebook page or simply email them to The Friends of Dagnam Park. Goodluck.

Libellula depressa, Chris Brundell, Dagnam Park.jpg

And finally a genuine Libellula depressa image from Dagnam Park; Chris Brundell, 1/7/15

Dragonfly Four Spotted Chaser 20-6-12 Don Tait.jpg

FOUR SPOTTED CHASER  ( Libellula quadrimaculata )

Dragonfly Azure Damselfly 10-6-12 Don Tait.jpg
Dragonfly Azure Damselfly Dave Sampson.jpg

Azure Damselfly  (Coenagrion puella)

Dragonfly Willow Emerald Damselfly Chalcolestes viridis.jpg

COMMON DARTER  ( Sympetrum striolatum )

bottom of page