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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Red Wood Ant

The Red Wood Ant (Formica rufa) is an insect in the Formicidae family of ants. It is also known as the Southern Wood Ant and Horse Ant.

The Red Wood Ant has a head, thorax, and abdomen. It is reddish, except for its brownish-black abdomen and dark patch on the back of its head. Its 6 legs are reddish-black. Its antennae are long. It has large jaws called mandibles. It has smoky-brown wings during the mating season – only the fertile female and adult male have wings.

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Puss Moth

The Puss Moth (Cerura vinula) is an insect in the Notodontidae family of moths.

The Puss Moth is creamy-white to yellowish-grey with light-brown lines and markings. The female has blackish lines and markings. It has a wide whitish-grey head, thorax, and abdomen that are very fluffy, like a hairy cat. 

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Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil

The Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil (Polydrusus sericeus and Polydrusus formosus) is a small insect in the Curculionidae family of broad-nosed weevils.

The Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil has brilliant, iridescent, metallic, light-green scales. Underneath the scales, is a black body, which will show if the scales drop off. It has a down-curved snout (nose) that can get into flowers and plants. It has bent, clubbed-shaped antennae. It has a head with large eyes, a thorax with six legs, and an oval-shaped abdomen with ridged lines from thorax to tail.

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Pitch Ant

The Pitch Ant (Camponotus piceus) is an insect in the Formicidae family of Carpenter Ants. Pitch means black.

The Pitch Ant is black with smoky-brown wings. It has a head, rounded thorax, and abdomen. It has six legs. It has a pinched-in waist. Its antennae are mid-length and bent. It has wings during the mating season – only the fertile female and adult male have wings.

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Downlooker Snipe Fly

The Downlooker Snipe Fly (Rhagio scolopaceus) is an insect in the Rhagionidae family of snipe flies. 

The Downlooker Snipe Fly has a slender brown body and six long stilt-like legs. It has a proboscis (sucking mouthpart) that looks like the long, slender beak of a a Snipe bird. Its head points downwards when it rests on an object or tree trunk. It does not have bristles (hairs) like the Housefly. Its wings are translucent (clear) with dark-brown markings. 

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Wrinkled Dune Snail

The Wrinkled Dune Snail
(Xeroplexa intersecta previously Candidula intersecta) is an air-breathing pulmonate gastropod mollusc in the Geomitridae family of terrestrial (land) snails. It is an invertebrate, because it does not have a backbone. Its shell is its exo-skeleton (outside skeleton).

The Wrinkled Dune Snail is yellowish-beige with dark-brown and copper bands. The round, globular, coarse (not glossy) shell has a right-handed whorl, which is called a dextral shell. There are five whorls with a slightly raised central spire. Its shell aperture (opening) does not have a lip. The body is bluish-grey with long upper tentacles and short lower tentacles on ts head. Its head extends to form a snout (proboscis). Its eyes are at the tip of the tentacles.

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Grove Unbanded Snail – Yellow Form

The Grove Unbanded Snail – Yellow Form (Cepaea nemoralis) is an air-breathing pulmonate gastropod mollusc in the Helicidae family of terrestrial (land) snails. It is a variant of the Grove Snail, also known as the Brown-Lipped Snail. It is an invertebrate, because it does not have a backbone. Its shell is its exo-skeleton (outside skeleton).

The Grove Unbanded Snail – Yellow Form can be varied in its appearance. The surface of its shell is semi-glossy. The shell has a right-handed whorl, which is called a dextral shell. The colour of the Grove Snail’s shell can be reddish, brownish, yellow, or creamy-white, with or without bands. The Grove Unbanded Snail – Yellow Form has a light, creamy yellow shell. It does not have prominent dark-brown bands or stripes. It has a white lip, not a brown lip. Its head extends to form a snout (proboscis). It has tentacles on its head. Its eyes are at the tip of the tentacles. 

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