GreenflyWhile drawing with the aid of a hand lens the unfurling green flower bud I notice two tiny green aphids feeding on the stem just below the flower. You can just make them out in my drawing, above, far right.
Although during the summer the all female bands of greenfly have managed perfectly well without the males, producing generation after generation by parthogenesis (virgin birth) at this time of year males will start to appear and eggs will be lain that will overwinter hatch in the spring.
During the summer there is no egg stage and the greenflies give birth to young which seem to be born pregnant.
Greenfly or plant-lice are bugs, members of the order Hemiptera. Like their distant relatives weevils and water bugs they have piercing mouthparts used for sucking liquid food. Greenfly are more closely related other bugs including the frog hoppers, whitefly and scale insects which are lumped together with the greenfly in the sub-order Homoptera. The scientific term Homoptera derives from the Greek meaning same wing as the wings have a uniform texture. This group sub-order also includes the cicadas. Hemiptera refers to the 'partly hardened' wings.
This snail was resting on the edge of the compost bin. From its colouring
I guess that it is a young garden snail, Helix aspersa. It glides
along the lid of my pocket watercolour box as I draw it, exploring with
its feelers and keeping its eye stalks stretched out. It's quite speedy;
I have to keep turning the box around in my hands to keep it in view.