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Glossy Ibis

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Hummingbird hawk's brief visit once again.....

A Hummingbird Hawkmoth made an appearance in the garden at Burgh Castle (13th). However, as before it fed on the Buddleia all too briefly and also as before darkness was not far off (approx’ 20.00).

Slugs in a different light-the mating ritual of garden leopards.....

An interesting day in the garden at Burgh Castle (14th), with 2 Migrant Hawkers over the garden and a Common Garden perched on the top of the shed.
A Sparrowhawk flew over harassed by Swallows and later a Hobby did similar, but managed to avoid any alarmed swallows.
A Painted Lady paid a brief visit to the Buddleia and a worn Meadow Brown, fresh Peacock, Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell were also seen.
A Dysdera crocata Woodlouse Spider was found in the garden, the first one I have seen for some time anywhere. Not surprisingly, considering their habit of being out of sight under stones etc and wherever their woodlouse prey is, again usually out of sight.
The highlight of the day came well after darkness had fallen (22.47 the time of the first photo taken) when a pair of mating Leopard Slugs Limax maximus were found by Sally Clarke on the side of a garden shed.
Whilst slugs are not the most appealing animals on the planet to humans (including myself) the mating ritual of these slugs is quite spectacular.
After the two slugs have climbed to a suitable height and where a ‘slime cord’ can be attached the pair gradually lower themselves entwined, where gravity plays a very important role in enabling the slugs to ‘unfurl’ their very long penises from the right side of their head (yes head!) and these then also entwine and sperm is transferred. Finally, the penis is retracted and the pair dis-entwines and goes their separate ways.
This ritual I first seen on the BBC’S Life in the Undergrowth, but seeing this first hand and then researching the ecology of this species has certainly made me look at slugs in a very different and positive way.

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Leopard Slugs mating ritual

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