Wednesday, August 7, 2013

From Piers Vigus

At this time of year it's not unusual to see pathways beaten through the ride-side brambles (and similarly inconvenient vegetation) as devotees of iris early-stages risk ticks and prickles in search of eggs and early instar larvae.
However, please could whoever was engaged in just this activity in one south Wiltshire wood (Roy Stockley's old stomping ground as it happens) try to avoid tearing off entire limbs in pursuit of these little gems.
Having been unable to resist the temptation to have a good look at the broken branches (although I would rather have continued with my walk), I was rewarded with the discovery of two iris ova on one sallow leaf.
In captivity, the female insect is remarkably unfussy, and paps them out all over the shop; on the sallow leaves, on the netting, on just about anything that's to hand; but in the wild it would seem that she's much more discriminating.
What, I wonder, is the record for the highest number of ova discovered on one sallow leaf in the wild..?

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