Floating saucer

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 20 November 2010 19:18

I'm halfway through my last ever weekend of lecturing for Birkbeck University at RSPB Rye Meads, this weekend's module is on aquatic monitoring. Today has basically been pond dipping for grown-ups and as always happens, it's great to watch 25 adults turn into excited children as soon as they start dipping. We saw plenty of phantom midge larvae (Charborus sp.), firstly the students misheard me as saying phantom midgets, then phantom menace and eventually they got it right, phantom midges. Saucer Bugs (photo) got the most attention, especially when I said they can give you a nasty nip. I think it's amazing how the front legs look more like jaws, the tibia and tarsi apparently fused together into a lethal claw. Not sure if these get you or the needle like rostrum, or both! I don't want to find out.

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