Oak Bush-cricket Meconema thalassinum

Jon Cartwright has sent these photographs of a female Oak Bush-cricket that he found at night on the 17 October 2015. You can see in the second picture that she is ovipositing into a crack at the base of this oak tree. This is a late orthopteran species that doesn’t mature until late July or August and appears throughout the autumn. We are keeping ‘last date’ records, but haven’t seen any in Wyre after the end of October….yet!

Female Oak Bush-cricket, Fastings Coppice, 17 October 2015 ©Jon Cartwright

Female Oak Bush-cricket ovipositing at base of oak tree, Fastings Coppice, 17 October 2015, ©Jon Cartwright

Dog Stinkhorn Mutinus caninus

We were surprised to see this Dog Stinkhorn fungus in New Parks recently. Over 60 ‘eggs’ were counted – they were smaller than those of the more commonly found Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus), and looked a little like the eggs of a Grass Snake. The slime at the top of the stem contains the spores which are dispersed by flies that are attracted to the fetid smell.

Dog Stinkhorn, Wyre Forest, 10 October 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Moon eclipse

For those who stayed up late on 27/28 September 2015 to see the eclipse, these were some of the views.

Moon eclipse, 28 September 2015, 02.54 ©Rosemary Winnall

Moon eclipse, 28 September 2015, 03.01 ©Rosemary Winnall

Moon eclipse, 28 September 2015, 03.09 ©Rosemary Winnall

Moon eclipse, 28 September 2015, 03.12 ©Rosemary Winnall

Moon eclipse, 28 September 2015, 03.22 ©Rosemary Winnall


Holly Speckle Trochila ilicina

Holly Speckle is a very common Ascomycete fungus which infects the upper surface of brown dead holly leaves. The black speckles open up in winter to expose the spores. There are 2 closely related species, one that occurs on the underside of dead Ivy leaves, and the other on the underside of Cherry laurel leaves.

Holly Speckle, Trochila ilicina, Callow Hill, 27 September 2015

Enoplognatha ovata spider

This little spider (3-6mm) is very common across Britain and is found on bushes and low vegetation. The female guards her single bluish egg sac under a leaf which is usually slightly rolled with the help of some tensioning threads of silk. There are different colour forms of this spider and not all have red on the abdomen. There is a very similar species E. latimana which has a more southerly distribution and prefers open sunny areas, such as heaths and sand dunes. These 2 species were only separated in 1983 and the latter has not yet been recorded in Wyre.

Enoplognatha ovata female with egg sac, Tanners Hill, 5 September 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall