Octo-bug-fest

I’m taking a day off from the greenhouse build today, mainly because I need some help with the next steps as they can’t be done by just one person (and V is at work).

Green manure growing in the veg beds

Anyway, I had a wander round the garden as it’s really sunny and quite warm for October. Despite sowing my green manure late, the plants seem to be coming up well. If it stays reasonably warm for a bit longer then they’ll be pretty large and healthy by the time the cold weather sets in.

There are still a fair few insects and other invertebrates around at the moment so I took a few pictures.

The first things to catch my eye were these little fellas. These are the caterpillars of one of the “white” butterflies. Many people refer to “cabbage white butterflies” but they call two different species of butterfly by this name. This is all largely irrelevant anyway since this common name isn’t used by entomologists. The two species are the large white (Pieris brassicae) and the small white (Pieris rapae). We’ve definitely had small whites in the garden before but these larvae are those of the large white (it’s nice to see them even though they’re eating my cabbages).

Caterpillars of the large white (Pieris brassicae)

I also spotted another small cluster of caterpillars close to the others:

Another group of large white caterpillars (Pieris brassicae)

I’m really surprised these caterpillars are still around. The adults are on the wing until September and there are 2-3 broods a year, these caterpillars must be the third brood as they aren’t very old at all. I’m not sure they’ll finish feeding before the cold weather sets in, but my cabbages weren’t up to much anyway so, I’ll leave them and will keep an eye on their progress.

Grasshopper - Chorthippus brunneus

I also spotted this really battered grasshopper climbing up the workshop wall. I’m pretty sure it’s a field grasshopper, Chorthippus brunneus.

Closer to the house I decided to take a picture of our small-leaved lime. This is a favourite of our leaf-cutting bees and so it ends up with these classic semi-circular ‘bites’ on most of its leaves.

Leaf chewed by leaf-cutting bee (Megachile sp.)

I also saw this absolutely beautiful female garden spider (Araneus diadematus) resting on a leaf and creating a really autumnal scene. We’ve got loads of Araneus diadematus in the garden and they’re easy to distinguish from the similar Araneus quadratus as A. diadematus has this distinctive cross pattern on its abdomen, A. quadratus has four large dots instead.

Autumnal garden spider - Araneus diadematus

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