The bee with the pink pants

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday 19 July 2010 19:24

Visit 4 of the Friston Forest invertebrate survey and we turned up a number of good species. Firstly though, on our way out of the forest we stopped by a large patch of Field Scabious, the sole food of the large mining bee Andrena hattorfiana. A RDB3 species known from this area for some forty years. As the bee takes pollen only from Field Scabious (and sometimes Greater Knapweed - two plants that are flowering well this year), the pollen has a very unusual colour, pink! The amount that these bees pile up on their legs looks ridiculous. This is a large mining bee with a reddish abdomen (I think Mike Edwards said it also comes in a black form). We saw perhaps 6 or 7 without any real effort. A really unusual looking invertebrate with its big pink bloomers!
Butterflies today were great, there were Chalkhill Blues (photo), Dark-green and Silver-washed Fritillaries, Brown Argus, White Admirals, Red Admirals and Marbled Whites everywhere.

What caused the most excitement today though was a clearwing I spotted nectaring on Creeping Thistle. I am pretty sure it was either Sallow Clearwing or Orange-tailed Clearwing. As I missed it with my net though, I can't be sure.  It was very small, all black with two creamy-white bands on the abdomen and thick dark borders to the translucent wings. I am going to try and go back with pheremones to the spot. I also saw a Kent Black Arches.

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