Aceria longisetosus mite gall on birch

These felt-like erinea containing mites were found on the upperside of birch leaves in Shelfheld Coppice. The gall mite Aceria longisetosus is responsible. When young they are bright red and conspicuous. Similar erinea, but formed by a different species of gall mite, can be found on beech leaves. The mites spend the winter in crevices in the tree bark or in the buds.

Aceria longisetosus mite galls on birch, Shelfheld Coppice, 15th June 2013

Aceria longisetosus erinea on birch, Sheldheld Coppice, 15th June 2013


Purple Hairstreak (Neozephyrus quercus) caterpillar

Purple Hairstreak caterpillars develop up in the oak canopy, but when they have completed their growing, they drop down to the woodland floor to pupate. Two were found on logs on the ground in a clearing in Shelfheld Coppice on 15th June 2013.

Purple Hairstreak caterpillar, Shelfheld Coppice, 15th June 2013

Neuroterus quercusbaccarum Currant Galls on oak catkins

These berry-like galls are commonly seen on oak male catkins. A tiny chalcid gall wasp, Neuroterus quercusbaccarum, lays her eggs on the developing oak buds in early spring. From these galls males and females hatch out and these females lay their eggs on oak leaves in the summer giving rise to Common Spangle Galls later in the year which produce the asexual generation. Two generations in one year!

Currant Galls on male oak catkins housing developing Neuroterus quercusbaccarum gall wasps, 7th June 2013

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) caterpillar

After hibernation in a crack on the bark of a tree, the tiny Silver-washed Fritillary caterpillar descends to the ground in the spring and sets off to search for violet leaves on which it feeds. By June it has grown, moulted several times, and spends much time basking in shafts of sunlight as shown here. It will soon pupate and spend two to three weeks as a chrysalis before emerging in July to fly through Wyre woodland in orange splendour.

Silver-washed Fritillary caterpillar, New Parks, 5th June 2013