Sep 03 2019

Insects in Devon Woods

Once again a huge thank you to our amazing photographer Geoff Foale for his documentation of insects in some Devon woods. Geoff recorded a female wasp spider in Woodleigh Wood which he said ‘I have been searching for 10 years and this is the first one which I have encountered’.

Wasp Spider – Argiope bruennichi


Geoff goes on to explain It is a pity that horseflies are such a nuisance when they look so attractive. But in fairness to them, most horseflies target larger prey such as farm animals and horses etc. It is only these Clegs which particularly go for humans and even then, it is only the females which bite.

I am not totally certain about the Allygus mixtus Leafhopper. It looks correct to me but it hasn’t been double checked yet and there is another almost identical Allygus species.  Both of them are quite variable in their markings. The Potato Leafhopper should be correct because it is quite distinctive.

Xanthogramma pedissequum hoverflies are widespread but never plentiful


Leafhopper – Allygus mixtus probably        Notch-horned Cleg Horsefly – Haematopota pluvialis     Potato Leafhopper – Eupteryx aurata                    Xanthogramma pedissequum

Geoof also took some photos of from Aveton Wood, South Devon SX729506

The Dicranopalpus harvestmen arrived in the UK from Morocco around the 1950’s or possibly a little earlier, and have gradually been expanding their range. Identification was easy because it was thought that there was only one species. But more recent investigations have shown that there are actually two almost identical species.

Males with a dark ‘eye mask’ are D. ramosus but males without that variable mask could be D. caudatus or ramosus. Females really require microscopic examination. They are fairly common in the Aveton Wood general area and I found three of them on that particular day


Common Blue – Polyommatus icarus                   Deraeocoris ruber                                     Dock Bug – Coreus marginatus nymph stage           Harvestman – Dicranopalpus ramosus or caudatus


Harvestman – Dicranopalpus ramosus or caudatus                  Meliscaeva auricollis                                  Minettia plumicornis                                               Moth – Dingy Footman on Ragwort


Parent Bug – Elasmucha grisea                           Picture-winged Flies – Terellia tussilaginis          Speckled Wood – Pararge aegeria                     Tortoise Bug – Eurygaster testudinaria nymph stage

Thank you Geoff for your stunning photos, your knowledge, and for labelling all the photos that you send in.

If you have any photos of your visits to our woods then please do contact Amanda at

Amanda Bealing

Volunteer Development officer South West

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