Winter has finally arrived but although it now looks rather bare and stark in our wood, there is still plenty to see. In fact some things are easier to see!
The larvae of the micro moth Emmetia marginea mine bramble leaves creating funnel shaped blotches.
The gall midge Lasioptera rubi is responsible for the lumpy rough-looking gall on the bramble stem. Inside are several chambers lined with fungal mycelium on which the larvae feed during the winter.
This abnormally swollen hazel bud is caused by the gall mite Phytoptus avellanae.
The only leaf-miner recorded on holly in Britain is Phytomyza ilicis, the legless larvae feeding between the upper and lower leaf surfaces. The adult is a small black fly belonging to the family Agromyzidae.
Along the length of a fallen, rotting hornbeam trunk are orange, rubbery patches of the fungus Phlebia radiata or Wrinkled Crust.
Nearby in the leaf litter I spotted a scattered troop of Mycena rosea (I checked a piece under my microscope at home).
And finally a pair of Flea Beetles, Longitarsus sp. in a close encounter on a ragwort plant. Their distinctive hind femurs are able to propel the insects in a huge 'flea' like jump.
Article by Heather Martin; December 2011