British springtails, harlequin ladybird, hoverfly larvae, ladybirds, springtail, Syrphus sp larvae, Syrphus species
Last week, before our current cold snap (though we’ve had no snow, it was -8C in the bitter easterly wind today), I was amazed at how many insects I found on and around a black metal fence that borders a local park.
I was initially checking for hoverfly larvae, as I was alerted a couple of years back to the fact that they can often be found on fences and other objects under trees like Sycamore – I think they fall when the leaves fall, then stay on the fence rails gobbling up any aphids that also fall. The four hoverfly larvae I found (shown below the lovely blue-bodied fly) are all from the Syrphus genus (but it’s not possible to identify them to species level), but I was surprised to also find an abundance of Springtails and more than 20 ladybirds, almost all Harlequin. I don’t know why the fence attracted them all – it felt cold to the touch but perhaps the black paint meant the surface was warm when the sun did actually shine.
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