Bright eyes

Every autumn Pete collects some samples of fallen wood to see whether any interesting insects hatch out. Today this rather beautiful long-palped crane-fly Ctenophora pectinicornis emerged from her coccoon. This species is saproxylic, that is the larvae eat rotten wood, and is nationally scarce with scattered locations over the UK, but predominantly in the south.

We know that it's a female, as she has a rather dangerous looking ovipositor, used to insert her eggs into dead logs and trunks. I shall post some other images on Flickr, showing her whole body, but I wanted to post an extreme macro that shows the structure of the compund eye and the sensory palps.

I've had a very enjoyable day. After a very windy walk through mud and shallow flooding I spent the rest of the morning baking - Pete reckoned I'd entered a baking frenzy as I produced a banana and pecan loaf, carrot cake, lemon drizzle cake and some apricot and almond biscuits in rapid succession. Tomorrow I have up to 15 botanists coming over for a planning meeting, so I hope they'll be hungry, particularly as the joint organiser has also been baking!

This afternoon I did some tidying in the front garden and planted everything that we bought on Valentine's Day. Hopefully they'll all be in flower for Valentine's Day next year!

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