Small Red-Eyed Damselfly

The Small Red-Eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridium) is an insect in the Coenagrionidae family of damselflies, which are similar to dragonflies.

The Small Red-Eyed Damselfly has a long, cylindrical, slender abdomen with ten segments. It has membranous forewings and hindwings. It has compound eyes (like the eyes of house flies) and three simple eyes (ocelli) on its forehead, with small antennae. The joint between its head and prothorax is flexible, which enables the damselfly to swivel its head. 

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Cynipid Gall Wasp

The Cynipid Gall Wasp (Neuroterus quercusbaccarum) is an insect in the Cynipidae family of gall wasps.

The Cynipid Gall Wasp is found throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa in the Northern Hemisphere.

In June, the female wasp lays eggs on leaves, usually the underside. She produces a hormone – or the egg secretes a hormone – that stimulates the growth of Common Spangle Galls – red lumps – around the eggs. 

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Common Wall Lizard

The Common Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis) is a terrestrial reptile in the Lacertidae family of wall lizards. It is a lacertid.

The Common Wall Lizard varies in colour, but is usually mottled brown with a reticulated pattern with dark spots on its side. The male is more colourful and more patterned than the female. It has a thin, elongated appearance with a long thin tail, which is about half the length of its entire body.

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Mini Flyers – flying insect photography exhibition 

Photographs of mini flyers are close-up photos of flying insects. The exhibition, from 21 October 2022 to 14 May 2023 is on the railing fence of the Jardin des Plants (the botanical garden) in Paris. The exhibition is hosted by the Paris National Museum of Natural History. The French phrase for mini flyers is mini voltigeurs.

The photographs show the strength, rigidity, flexibility, and weight of insect wings. Insects use turbulence (movement of air) in their environment to create an airflow around their wings to produce a strong, upward force. 

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Hairy Shieldbug

The Hairy Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum) is an insect in the Pentatomidae family of shieldbugs. It is also known as the Sloe Bug.

The Hairy Shieldbug can vary in colour, although the pronotum (plate part that covers the thorax) and the elytra (wing casings) are reddish-purple. The scutellum (shield) is ochre-brown. During winter, the basic colour is dull brown. The edges of the connexivum have black and whitish markings. The whole body underneath the shield is quite hairy – it looks like it is covered in dust and carpet hair. Its antennae have 4-5 black and white sections. It has big, round, black eyes on a small head. The male and female look similar.

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Red-Veined Darter

The Red-Veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) is an insect in the Libelludlidae family of dragonflies. It is also known as the Nomad Darter.

The male Red-Veined Darter has a deep-red abdomen with a red-brown thorax. Its eyes are brown above and blue-green below. Its wings have red veins and the base of its hind-wings (back wings) is yellow. The female is similar, but her abdomen is yellow-brown with two black lines along each side. Her wings have yellow veins. Both the male and female have black legs with some yellow markings.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Small Common Blue Butterfly

The Small Common Blue Butterfly (Polyommatus icarus) is an insect in the Lycaenidae family of blue butterflies.

The Small Common Blue male has iridescent blue wings above with a thin, black-brown border and white fringe. The female is brown above with blue flecks, like dust, and orange spots. Both the male and the female have a row of red or orange spots along the edge of the hindwing (back wing). 

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17-Spot Ladybird Beetle

The 17-Spot Ladybird Beetle (Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata) is a small insect in the Coccinellidae family of ladybird beetles and ladybugs. It is a coccinellid beetle.

The 17-Spot Ladybird Beetle has yellow-orange elytra (two wing cases) with 17 black spots. Its pronotum is yellow with 5 black spots. Its shiny body is oval-shaped and slightly domed. Its wings are hidden underneath the wing cases. It has black compound eyes. Its antennae are light-brown and slightly thickened at the ends. Its neck shield has white spots and usually covers its head. It has little black legs. 

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Western European Ringlet Butterfly

The Western European Ringlet Butterfly (Aphantopus hyperantus hyperantus) is an insect in the Nymphalidae family of butterflies.

The Western European Ringet Butterfly has chocolate brown to black wings and a dark-brown hairy body. The upper and lower sides of its wings are solid brown with small, yellow-ringed eyespots. The number of eyespots is variable. The juvenile butterfly has a velvety appearance and is almost black with a white fringe (margin) on each wing. It lightens in colour as it ages.

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European Bass

The European Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) is a marine (saltwater) bony fish in the Moronidae family of temperate basses. It is also known as Sea Bass and Mullet.

The European Bass is silvery-grey, sometimes with dark-blue scales on its back. It has a slightly compressed body, a medium-sized head, and prominent jaws. It has teeth and fleshy lips. It has gills to breathe underwater. There are two dorsal (back) fins – the first one has thorny rays. The fins appear yellowish.

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CREATURE FEATURE: European Ground Squirrel

The European Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus citellus) is a rodent mammal in the Sciuridae family of squirrels. It is also known as the European Souslik.

The European Ground Squirrel has a slender body with a short, bushy tail. Its short fur is yellowish-grey, flecked with black hair. Its underside is pale. It has large, dark eyes and small, rounded ears. It has short feet with sharp claws for digging. It has strong, gnawing teeth. It has a small nose with whiskers. 

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Potter Wasp

The Potter Wasp (Eumenes dubius) is an insect in the Vespidae family of petiolated wasps (with a long thin waist called a petiole). It is a vespid. It is also called a Mason Wasp.

The Potter Wasp is black with yellow markings. The first part of its metasomal section (abdomen section) is narrow and elongated with a bulbous appearance. It has a very thin, long, waist. The thorax is about the same size and shape as the abdomen. Its wings are attached to the thorax. Its six legs are also attached to the thorax. It folds its wings longitudinally when it is resting. It has a large head, large eyes, and a pair of segmented antennae that curl at the tip. 

The female Potter Wasp has a stinger but she is not aggressive. The stinger is also the ovipositor which she uses to lay eggs.

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Chartreux Cat

The Chartreux Cat (Felis catus) is a mammal in the Felidae family of cats. It is a rare domestic cat. A cat is a felid, or a feline.

The Chartreux Cat has short, thick, silver-grey fur, which is called blue fur. Unlike most other cats, it has water-resistant fur due to a double layer of medium-length, slightly woolly hair. It sheds its fur moderately. It is large and muscular with short ears and a fluffy tail. It has distinctive orange or amber eyes. It is considered to be highly intelligent. 

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RESEARCH: The West European Hedgehog is common in mainland Europe but classified as vulnerable in the United Kingdom

The West European Hedgehog is common in mainland Europe but classified as vulnerable in the United Kingdom – in danger of becoming extinct. Why is this the case?

In Europe, the brownish-white West European Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is widespread and found from Portugal to Russia. Researchers think that the numbers are high because hedgehogs have a varied diet with an abundant choice in mainland Europe.

However, in the United Kingdom, the numbers of West European Hedgehogs have declined significantly although exact numbers are not available. Scientists think that one main reason may be the high number that are killed on the roads – which is estimated to be thousands each each. In addition, modern farming methods and few hedgerow plants might also contribute to the declining numbers in the United Kingdom. 

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RESEARCH: Turtle Dove numbers are declining in the United Kingdom

A research study in 2021 found that the number of Turtle Doves were declining in the United Kingdom. Volunteers, farmers, study groups, bird clubs, and other organizatios all contributed to the research. 

The first national survey of Turtle Doves in the UK in fifty years showed that there were only 2,100 pairs of Turtle Doves that now breed in the country, which is a decline of 98% from 125,000 pairs in 1970.

The survey found that the Turle Dove is now concentrated in south-eastern and eastern England, and as far north as Yorkshire.

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Southern Damselfly

The Southern Damselfly (Coenagrion mercuriale) is a medium-sized insect in the Coenagrionidae family of damselflies which are similar to dragonflies. It is also known as the Mercury Bluet.

The Southern Damselfly has a long, cylindrical, slender abdomen with ten segments. The male is bright blue with black markings. The female is less colourful. It has a mark on the second segment of its abdomen that resembles the symbol for the planet Mercury. It has forewings and hindwings which are similar in appearance and are membranous. It has compound eyes (like the eyes of house flies) and three simple eyes (ocelli) on its forehead. It has small antennae. 

The joint between its head and prothorax is flexible, which enables the damselfly to swivel its head. 

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