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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The secret life of a chinese cabbage patch

Since being able to observe the miniature life in my garden with my macro lens; even better now that I have extension tubes which show things up even closer, I'm starting to notice just how many insects there are amongst my plants! One day I had a good look around my chinese cabbage (or chinese leaves as some of you may know them by). I couldn't believe the life that was going on in amongst all the leaves!

Some of these insects are sap suckers, some such as flea beetles munch holes, some are good to have around, and some such as spiders are predators on other insects, such as flies and the really tiny flying insects that I think just settle (and therefore often become prey for the spiders laying in wait). Don't worry, I have not posted any spider photos here even though I found a number of them on the plants. One day I will do a spider posting and those who don't want to see can avoid as I will give you due warning!

Green Leafhopper (Cicadella viridis)

Green Leafhopper (Cicadella viridis)

An unknown Leafhopper

Froghopper - unknown species of superfamily Cercopoidea
The difference between the two is that the Leafhopper has spiny legs.
Froghoppers are the insects whose nymphs are hidden in Cuckoo Spit!

The above are all sap suckers, but in small numbers like this they are not going to make much difference. I've already got holey outside leaves due to slugs which I feed to the chickens, and when the plants are fully hearted up, which they are starting to do, the inner heart is absolutely fine for us to eat.

This is a nymph stage of a Shield Bug who will probably grow up
to become the Cabbage Shield Bug!
Possibly Eurydema sp.

This is an adult form of the Green Shield Bug (Palomena prasina)
I see quite a few of them about the garden, including their nymph stages.

Red Velvet Mite (Trombidiidae)
About 2-3mm long, all over the veg patch at the moment.
These are not related to the red spider mite that you find on houseplants
and are in fact a good creature to have in the garden.

Of course there are flies about!

This one is tiny and rather cute with interesting wing markings

And this one, whose pose I love!

There are still Flea Beetles about, but not in such great number
now so they can do little harm to the plant. This is the kind of
flea beetle that I see with the naked eye -
it's the size of a flea and hops just like one.

I thought this little guy was a real cutie, but guess what it is?
It's another species of Flea Beetle! Still cute though.

There are Plant Bugs from the family Miridae, another sap sucker.

And the occasional Moth having a rest on the leaves. I've no idea what this is,
but it isn't the Cabbage Moth as I checked!

Sometimes interesting solitary predatory wasps come along such as this one,
which is probably the Ichneumon Wasp, Pimpa rufipes.

It was crawling about quite oddly and I thought it may have been injured,
but then it flew off!

Another day I was passing and spotted this fabulous Cricket sitting on the leaves.

And then I discovered this oddity.
I named it the Duck-Billed Platypus Beetle.
Thankfully an entomologist put me right and told me this is in fact
a Dung Beetle of the genus Onthophagus
and very probably Onthophagus vacca

Another view of it

As well as spiders mentioned above, I've also found harvestmen and today my first slug. I'm not taking a photo of that!


  1. You never fail to amaze me with your stunning photos Mandy.

    Philippa x

    1. Thank you very much Philippa, and thanks for looking. I know this is not everyone's cup of tea! xx