Monday, 5 August 2013

Butterflies and Bees

The other day when I was at the RSPB Reserve, Catherine Bertrand of the Northern Ireland Butterfly Conservation was there to talk to a group about the butterflies and Moths that are found in N.Ireland.  When the rain stopped they went out with butterfly nets to see what they could catch. 
I was fortunate to photograph the 3 moths below.

Magpie Moth
Riband Wave

Gold Spangle
In Northern  Ireland  we have around 1000 Moths and 33 Butterflies and at present over all the UK they are doing a survey  between now and the 11 August.  They are asking people to contact them with the butterflies that they have seen.  Information at

There were also these Cinnabar caterpillars.

Does anyone know what this is above?
Could this be a Cream-streaked Ladybird (harmonia quadripunctata)
After I  left the Reserve, I went along to Kinnegar and I found a place that looked pretty good for seeing some Insects, Moths and Butterflies.  Now I am a real novice at IDing any of these so I will need a great deal of help from the many bloggers that do know.  I was extremely pleased that I managed to get some photos although quite a few are not in perfect focus.  

Cinnabar caterpillar on Ragwort

I was delighted to see the beautiful Small Tortoiseshell above.

 Green - veined White


Now I have no idea what these insects are.  
Could the above be a sawfly (rhogogaster viridis)

Common Red Soldier Beetle (rhagonycha fulva)

The following shots are of the six-spot Burnet moth (Zygaena filipendulae) that is a brightly coloured day-flying moth.  Its bright colours warn potential predators that it is poisonous. The blackish fore wings have a metallic sheen and feature red spots that earn the species its common name. Despite the name, however, the number of spots can vary between individuals, and may be fused in some cases. The red hind wings have a fine bluish border and the antennae are club-shaped . A colour form known as f. flava has yellow spots in place of the normal red ones.  Very occasionally, specimens with brown spots are also seen.

The colouration and the day flying are both linked to the fact that they are poisonous.  It is safe enough for them to fly during the day as birds, and other predators, quickly learn that these moths taste horrible and can cause stomach upsets.  Their colouration advertises this fact.
They become poisonous as caterpillars.  The plants they feed on contain very small amounts of cyanide and the caterpillars are not only immune to this but make use of it.  The toxins from the leaves they eat are saved in the caterpillar’s bodies as their own protection from predators.  After metamorphosis they remain slightly poisonous.

I know that there is a five spot Burnet and I was not sure if this one above could be one as I could not count 6 spots however when I did some research I discovered that the spot numbers varied!  So how do you tell the difference?

The six-spot Burnet moth is found throughout Europe, including the UK.  It has black (or very dark green) wings vividly spotted in red. Occasionally their spots are yellow, brown or black. Usually there are six spots on each wing but sometimes there are more and sometimes they are fused.  With a wingspan of just over an inch it is a medium sized moth.  The antennae are rather like a butterfly’s given that they end in clubs.

Now I tried to photograph bees with great difficulty and I am not sure of any of the names but I will have a go and  PLEASE someone help me to ID them properly.

I think this one above is Carder bee Bombus pascorum

2 & 4. are either
Bombus hortorum, the Garden Bumblebee or Horse-faced bee – they have very long faces if seen from the front.
Bombus jonellus, the Heath Bumblebee, who has a very short little round face.  Their markings are exactly the same


5, 6 & 7 are Red Bottomed Bee Bombus lapidaries



Thanks for visiting my post today and I hope the experts will come to my rescue on ID today.

MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO COMMENTED yesterday on any of my post and in particular Linda and Ginny who had a good laugh at my 'Hooked Crow'.  This was a typo mistake of mine and it is now corrected to a Hooded Crow.  Also to Tex, Anni and Keith for explaining to me about the Magpie's eye.

Hope you will visit again soon.


  1. Hi Margaret, yes thats a Green-veined White.
    Burnets always confuse me as well.

    This link will help you ID Bumble Bees:

    This link is good for Butterfly ID:

  2. Great 'bugs and butterflies' post Margaret, you certainly found a good selection! Nice moth images, I've yet to see the Magpie or the Gold Spangle!

    Your small ladybird looks like a Cream-streaked Ladybird (harmonia quadripunctata) (check

    I'm afraid to say that your Red Admiral image is in fact a Small Tortoiseshell!

    The bug with the green/yellow legs is (I think!) a sawfly (rhogogaster viridis)

    And the red/orange bug is a Common Red Soldier Beetle (rhagonycha fulva) commonly known as the 'bonking beetle' because that's what they invariable seem to be doing!!

    Sorry no help on the bees, I'm still trying to get to grips with bee ID's...[;o)

  3. Your assortment of moths, butterflies and other insects is quite different from what we have here in Maryland. LOved viewing the photos though.

  4. A fascinating subject Margaret, and one I enjoy; especially grappling with the many moth ID's.
    Some excellent pictures too.

  5. The white-striped-bottomed bee looks to be the same as the one I saw yesterday. I thought mine might be a cuckoo bee, specifically a field bee, but as you know my bee id skills are in their infancy so I may well be wrong! CT :-)

  6. Hi Margaret...Well I finally got to your blog without it coming up in hugh print !! Have no idea why!! I have tried different ways, and when i joined through friend connect I thought that would do it , some times it works them other timed it doesn't!!
    So at least I know when you post!!
    Thanks so much for your lovely comment on my post much appreciated!!

    This a wonderful post of butterflies, bee's,and things that crawl : )

    The first one of the moth is gorgeous, and the Tortoiseshell butterfly is another lovely shot!!

    PS I found since I marked you comments in spam as not spam they have been coming in on my regular comments : )! Yeah

  7. great variety here. love the happy little bees. that first moth is really beautiful! hadn't seen that one on a blog before.

  8. Hi Margaret. I'm really impressed with your bug and butterfly pictures but as a bird man can't help much with ID. The first three moths are superb and make me think i should try harder to look at all insects.

  9. Your close-ups are just awesome!

  10. I don't need to know the precise ID to appreciate your beautiful photos. That one of the spotted burnet on the yellow flower is especially beautiful. The fourth from the last picture, with the bee on the thistle, is also lovely.

  11. A wonderful blog and the love taken in the photos are a blessing. Thank you :-)

  12. A wonderful blog, and the love and care shown in your photos are a delight. :-)

  13. Oh yes, I love the first one, Magpie Moth, really enjoyed all of it.

  14. Wow, all are so amazing!!! So close up on the Ringlet, you can even see the texture!! And I have never seen polka dot insects like these! The magpie, the six spot and five spot..I even especially like the half eaten thistle, the close up of it and it's structure.

  15. So many things to take photos of in nature, love that shot of the bee with the sky behind (low level shot )


  16. i will not be able to help with any of these but your images are stunning!!

    #1 was my favorite!!

  17. A fascinating collection of critters there Margaret. Your photos are great, so sharp and clear.

  18. Exquisite photos, Margaret!

  19. I am not all that concerned with the names,I have been enjoying the beauty as I scrolled through this post.

  20. nature and butterflies and insects are so abundant over there; great photos to enjoy Margaret

  21. These photos were amazing both in the artistic way you were able to photograph these creatures, but also because you were able to see so many. Sadly, it has been years and years since I have seen a caterpillar. I think we must be killing them all over here in the US with insecticides. The moths and butterflies were just beautiful to see. Some, or rather most, I've never seen before.

  22. Beautiful photos Margaret and a very interesting post. Love the Gold Spangle Moth in particular.