Amourobius ferox

Amourobius ferox
By Peter Byles

Thursday, 13 April 2017


The puffins put on a superb show at the Wick on Skomer Island yesterday evening with many birds in flight shots captured back-lit by a setting sun. It doesn't come much better than this as a photographic wildlife experience.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Oil Beetle

Found in the garden today  - the blue legs and antenna were very striking. I think it's a Black Oil Beetle but I'm sure there is somebody out there who can tell me if I'm wrong!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Amourobius ferox

My wife called me to the bathroom to see this spider. I potted it and
examined it. I could see it had these amazing palps. I couldn't take a
really good photo, so I took it to my friend Melvin Grey who has constructed
a special light box. What an incredible image was produced.

The ID came within half an hour from These
ping-pong ball-like blobs are 'palpal bulbs'. It is a male spider. I imagine
that they play a part in the mating game. I understand that male spiders use
their palps to transfer a package of sperm to the female. If he is lucky he
may escape before she devours him. May be these white bulbs fool the female
into thinking that he hasn't delivered the parcel. He would then have a
chance to escape. That is my theory anyway.

Best   wishes, Peter Byles.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Winter Heliotrope

Winter Heliotrope is in full flower along the roadside outside our house. I picked a flower and put it in a vase to see what the scent was like - it was like a rather sickly vanilla.The flower and the scent lasted for many days.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Nursery Web Spider - Pisaura mirabilis

I had seen on the Pembrokeshire Wildlife blog some excellent photos dated 16 July 2016 from Peter Byles, of the Nursery Web Spider - Pisaura mirabilis. You may like to know that on a visit to Pembroke Dock I saw a Nursery Web Spider on grass next to Pembroke River/Pennar Gut (OS ref: SM957023) on 26 December 2016. This is an extremely late date for this spider; I have never seen one in Winter where I live in Hampshire, and as an amateur arachnologist I am always on the look out for spiders.

Two days earlier, on 24 December 2016, I saw another unexpected spider: a Stripe-legged Spider - Harpactea hombergii. This was nearby one metre up a three metre high South-facing cliff.

I realise that spiders are under-recorded in Pembrokeshire, nevertheless, these were interesting finds in late December.


Dennis Trunecka.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

The smell of gorse in December

While I know that gorse is usually in bloom in December, I was not prepared for the display that greeted me on the cliffs between Monkhaven and St Ishmaels this morning - the gorse was in flower all along the path and down the cliffs and it was covered in bloom. In the warm sunshine and light breeze, it was emitting its wonderful perfume of coconut and butterscotch. I am pretty sure that I have never smelt this in December before!
There were not many insects taking advantage of this bounty but there was one queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee and a queen of a smaller species - maybe Early Bumblebee.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

NURSERY WEB SPIDER Pisaura mirabilis

This striking spider was found in a neighbour's garden. She was vigorously
defending a web full of purple spiderlings and quite hard to photograph. I
had quite a time trying to identify it, but found an excellent website. As I
keep finding with creatures I've never identified before, it is described as
widespread and common!

Peter Byles.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Water Voles

One, possibly two, seen on the Western Cleddau over the weekend, between St Catherine's and Trefgarne bridges.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Nature is tough

A huge hole had been dug at the base of an old Pembs bank alongside the coast path.  One of our local badgers has had a good feed. The Red-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus lapidarius, have lost their home.
Peter Byles, Ceibwr.

Thursday, 14 July 2016


We have a breeding colony of Soprano Pipistrelle bats in our bedroom roof - they are extremely noisy at night (sounds like they are running around with clogs on) but it only lasts for a couple of months so we put up with it. Usually they go up into the roof under the fascia board but this morning in the garden I could hear more-than-usually-loud bat communication squeaks and realised that there was a little cluster of about 7 bats tucked up underneath the gable end. I wonder why they are there? Are they adults or juveniles? Are they juveniles that couldn't find the way back in?
That's the trouble with wildlife - every sighting just leads to more questions!