Horse Fly and Pink Grasshopper, Gower

Friday, August 12, 2011 Adam Tilt 5 Comments


I was originally planning on bringing you a couple of photographs of a Yellow Underwing in this post, the latest moth species to pay a visit to my house after dark. Unfortunately it has escaped my clutches and is now hiding somewhere in the spare bedroom so that one will have to wait. Instead I thought I would stick with the insect theme and return to our Gower walk from the end of July where we had a couple of nice new finds. The first of these was a Horse Fly that we spotted on the way into Millwood near the Penrice Estate

24713 - Horse Fly, Millwood, Gower

24714 - Horse Fly, Millwood, Gower

I believe that this is a female given that it appeared to be looking for a suitable place to lay eggs, and also due to the fact that the eyes are separated from each other whereas they are joined on the male. In terms of size I would estimate that the body was at least twenty millimeters long which made for a formidable approach when combined with the low but loud drone from its wings. I'm glad that I kept my distance as it is the female of the species that feeds on blood and can give a very nasty bite.

The second interesting insect was found just behind the sand dunes at Oxwich Beach. It was a grasshopper and not hard to miss given that it was bright pink and stood out like a sore thumb.

24719 - Pink Grasshopper, Oxwich, Gower

Depending on which source you read this unusual pink colouration is either down to a genetic mutation or simply the colour of young grasshoppers. Either way it seems to be a rare occurrence to actually see one in the flesh which makes this find doubly exciting. Unfortunately it didn't stick around for long as I would have liked to get some better photographs for identification purposes, but from this angle I think it is most likely a Common Field Grasshopper.

5 comments:

  1. love that stylish grasshopper! too fun!

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  2. That Horse Fly is interesting. It does look a bit imposing.
    And the pink grasshopper; well, I've never seen one that colour before.

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  3. Interesting pink grasshopper. I found a completely (except for eyes) pink one at Whitecliff Bay (IoW) a couple of years ago and came to the same conclusion - Common Field Grasshopper - but it was very small, and in early June, so probably a youngster.

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  4. Stunning images Adam... what camera are you using.... still the bridge?

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  5. TexWisGirl - it certainly stands out!

    Keith - trust me it's even more imposing when you are holding a camera a few inches away from it.

    Rob - that's very interesting to hear. I'm presuming that due to the different opinions there is no clear answer one way or the other as to why these grasshoppers are pink.

    Andrew - thanks very much. Yep still using the bridge, a Panasonic Lumix Fz28. Brilliant little camera.

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