Next week is National Insect Week which will see a huge range of events going on across the UK focussing on the crawling, flying and creeping insects that call the UK home.
We'll be doing a few bits and bobs on the forums about insects through next week but before the weekend we figured we would start an insect based discussion.
So, what in your opinion is the most iconic British insect? Your thoughts and your own pictures of your nominees are most welcome!
Find out what's hot in the world of wildlife with the wildlife enquiries blog here
Wow, what a question! Here are some that I'd consider worthy contenders:
Stag Beetle. Huge, dramatic, charismatic, and a noted resident of the London boroughs.
Swallowtail butterfly. Rare, beautiful, inhabits a classic English landscape (the Broads), a bit of a challenge to see well, our subspecies is unique.
Peacock butterfly. Very familiar garden butterfly, and exceptionally colourful.
Kentish Glory moth. In my opinion the best-looking moth on the British list. Wish they occurred in Kent!
Emperor moth. Another glorious moth species, with a very striking caterpillar too.
Buff-tailed Bumblebee. The classic bumble.
Hornet. OK, not everyone's cup of tea but this is one heck of an impressive insect.
Golden-ringed Dragonfly. Just amazing, huge stunning dragon.
My own nominee though is my favourite, the Beautiful Demoiselle damselfly. I just can't get over how lovely these damsels are, I honestly don't think any other British insect matches them. What's more, they're fascinating to watch in hunting and courtship modes, and tend to live in very pretty places. Pics of a male and female below.
psst, want to see my blog? http://mazzaswildside.blogspot.co.uk/
I have to agree with Aiki here. Although I would go for any of the Dragonflies and Damselflies, but the one Aikis pointed out is the iconic one. EDIT : as to me it is so beautiful, though I wouldn't have known the name of it without Aiki saying. Also I'd like to nominate Ladybirds. And as Aiki said the Peacock Butterfly or the Small tortoise shell as it is so common. And also earwigs, not beautiful but part of our life and worth the mention. EDIT again : I forgot moths , I like moths, don't mind which one it is and bees too, don't mind any of them either.........And lastly the good old Common field Grasshopper.
The truth is I'm mad. We are all mad and many are too mad to know the truth.
It is indeed a cracking wee beastie! I don't see that many of them around these parts but the equally as stunning banded demoiselle is quite abundant locally!
Personally my top insect has to be the devils coach horse as they have real attitude, maybe not an iconic British insect but definitely one worth a mention!
I agree with both aiki and Birdie Wild, although I don't think the Small Tortoiseshell is common anymore.
As to the Country's most iconic insect, my current favourites are Dock/Parent/Shield bugs with spiders a close second. The Bugs seem to be a bit scarce this year, having only seen one which was an early Instar form.
And I feel that Butterflies have been badly hit this season, probably due to the weather. Dragons and Damsels are a favourite with me, too and they are now starting to appear in some numbers. Reading my notes over last summer they all seem to be appearing around the same time.
I have already been insect-hunting heavily over the last few weeks and have been rewarded with a few good sightings.
Here are a few photos:
Best wishes, Graham
'Fortitudine Vincimus' - By Endurance We Conquer. Sir Ernest Shackleton
I'm a fan of Devil's Coach Horse beetles too, Ian. I've had to evict a couple from the aikido dojo, which I did VERY carefully. None of the aikido men would go near them :)
Love those photos, G. But you've overstepped the brief - as Bill Bailey famously said in his song Insect Nation: 'Spiders are not insects (but in a war they would side with the insects...)' :) Here's the song for anyone who's curious:
I know, but I was just nostalgic about losing Sid the Spider last week. He was a resident in my Flat for months. He's now gone to that Web in the sky...... :(
RIP Sid :'( I'm sure there will be a Sid 2 along soon though :)
Funnily enough, there is! A tiny Sidlet in a large web...... :)
I can resume our 'setting the world to rights' chats whilst in the bath! Or is that too much info :)
I think that Honeybees are one of my iconic insects. They are under threat from disease and recently there have been dire warnings about what would happen to the planet if they became extinct. They have such a structured, selfless and short life, and work so hard!
I rather like the humble but dainty Lacewing too.
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
Damsels and dragons are fairly uncommon up here. I do like the honey bee, but perhaps I am a little prejudiced there. However, I think that I would put the bumble bee first, followed by the mayfly, with the honey bee third from this area.
The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.
Burton Mere Wetlands, Cheshire. Still place left on our dragonfly walk tomorrow phone 0151 353 8478
Thanks for the offer but it is a long way to travel down from County Durham with family coming at 1.00pm! Had I travelled, I would also have missed a visit from a lesser spotted woodpecker to my peanut feeder!
Had a good and hard think about this, as I love so many different insects for different reasons!! Beetles and wasps feature highly so I'm going to vote for the Common Wasp! Much maligned, yet so useful in our eco-system! :-)
Not everyone knows what you're talking about if you mention some insects, but everyone knows a wasp! I have a t-shirt with a wasp portrait on it which always provokes a variety of reactions from "ooooh" to "eurghhhhh"! Lol!
Plenty of photos in my "Wasps are beautiful" post from last year!
"All weeds are flowers, once you get to know them" (Eeyore)
My photos on Flickr