A few showery and rainy days on Skye still gave way now and again to warm sunshine. In these sunny intervals the insects emerged to feed on the flowers of heather, black knapweed, devil’s-bit scabious and angelica that surrounded our residence for the week. A few workers of common carder-bee (Bombus pascourum) foraged for nectar and pollen in amongst the flowers alongside an imposter, a look-alike hoverfly (Arctophila superbiens). This is a western species of hoverfly with little known about its life cycle, though the larvae may be aquatic in bog pools. Also prowling on the black knapweed was a sinister looking predator; an ichneumon wasp was busy laying eggs, presumably on insect larvae deep within the flower.
The flowers of angelica were particularly popular with other hoverflies including wasp and bee mimics such as Eristalis species and Leucozona glaucia, a species of woodland edges in the north and west of the UK. The larvae of the Leucozona feed on aphids of the woodland floor.
There were a few butterflies too. Scotch argus seem to cope well with cooler conditions although enjoyed basking in the sunshine when it did appear. There were speckled wood butterflies too resting on the young birch and hazel particularly in sheltered spots out of the wind. A peacock butterfly managed to put in an appearance, feeding for most of the afternoon on the black knapweed.
And one more insect worthy of note: the midge! There were plenty of these on the mild damp evenings.