Cercopis vulnerata

A gaudy member of the Froghopper family

The Red and Black Froghopper (Cercopis vulnerata) is a brightly coloured froghopper, and, according to British Bugs, found throughout Britain south of the Scottish Highlands.

They occur in a wide variety of setting, including parks and gardens as well as forest edges.

Froghoppers take their name from their ability to jump using their saltatory (extended) back legs. The insect has been recorded making jumps of up to 70 cm.

Ephemera vulgata

A species of Mayfly found along the River Thames

Ephemera vulgata is characterised by spotted wings and dark triangular markings on the sides of it’s abdomen.

The adults emerge in spring and early summer near ponds and slow moving rivers. It is found along the River Thames where nymphs burrow into the muddy sediments. In contrast, the similar Ephemera dancia, or the ‘Green drake‘, is typically associated with clear water rivers with gravel or sandy bottoms.

Although not uncommon, Ephemera vulgata is in decline with documented threats including reductions in water quality (increasing pesticides and heavy metals) and light pollution.

Xanthogramma pedissequum

An eye catching hoverfly with an unusual life cycle

Xanthogramma pedissequum is an eye catching hoverfly on the wing from May to September.

It’s an uncommon hoverfly, with records in the National Biodiversity Network Atlas suggesting a quite localised distribution throughout central and southern England.

According to Wikipedia, the larval stages are associated with Black garden ants (Lasius niger) and Yellow meadow ants (Lasius flavus) and probably feed on ant-attended root aphids.

The photograph was taken during the last week of April in a hay meadow adjacent to the Thames at the Earth Trust, Little Wittenham.