R and I were busy today, preparing for an overnight stay by the Family B. The weather was also very changeable - windy, with scudding clouds and rain showers, interspersed with short spells of sunshine. All of this made bug hunting a little tricky, but during the afternoon I managed to spend around an hour in the garden, and found a few nice specimens.
I swept this gorgeous leafhopper out of the Lawson cypress, where she was probably settling down to overwinter. She wasn't pleased, and did her best to escape, but I'm getting better at this lark now and I managed to get a bug pot over her as she jumped (which she did with such force that I felt the impact through the plastic). I put the pot in the fridge for ninety minutes to slow her down a bit, and then enlisted R's help to tip her out onto this old hazel log, while I stood ready with the camera. For a few seconds she didn't move at all, but shortly after I took this photo she began to walk slowly around the log. Just then the sun emerged, and I'd barely had time to think Hooray!, turn off the flash, and begin taking some natural light images, when she spread her wing cases, made an immense leap past my head, and disappeared into hyperspace.
British Bugs notes sternly that leafhoppers in the Idiocerinae are often very difficult to identify, but I'm going to have a go anyway. She's either Acericerus (Idiocerus) ribauti, or Acericerus (Idiocerus) vittifrons - I suspect the former, because A. vittifrons seems usually to be more heavily mottled than this, but the two species are so closely related they've only quite recently begun to be distinguished from each other. Males can be separated by the shape of the dark markings on their faces, but females are much harder to tell apart. Both species are associated with sycamore and field maple, which we have down in our wild garden.
I'd like to thank MaryElizaR for hosting Tiny Tuesday this month, and give you the heads-up that I will be your host for the four Tuesdays of October. I won't be setting any themes, but simply asking you to submit a close-up photo of anything small that catches your eye, taken with any camera or lens that will do the job. The tags you'll need to use to enter the challenge will be as follows:
4th October - TT384
11th October - TT385
18th October - TT386
25th October - TT387.
I'm already looking forward to seeing all your photos.
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