Ants and Aphids

Early this morning I went down to the Fairlight cove area to look for sea-life on the beach at very low tide. On the way I looked at some of the coastal plants that have become established behind the protective berm, and noted black ends to some of the flower spikes of sea beet. These proved to aphids with attendant ants, [I can’t positively name either] presumably milking them for honeydew. I spent some time trying to get a decent photo, during which a thick sea mist arrived and obscured the beach.

As I walked back the mist cleared and there were quite a lot of birds on view, including about 50 Common Scoters close inshore, also many feeding Sandwich Terns a Med. Gull and a Little Egret . As usual the nesting Fulmars gave excellent views.


2 responses to “Ants and Aphids

  1. The ants appear to belong to the genus Myrmica. There are a number of species in Britain. The Myrmicinae are characterised by having two segments to the waist – the petiole and the postpetiole. This character can be seen in the photograph. To identify which species we need to look at the structure of the antennae and some features of the ‘face’ of the ant under a microscope.

    The distribution of the different species of Myrmica in Britain is influenced by the climate and with the comparative Continental climate of the Fairlight cliffs we can expect the more dry and warmth-loving species to be present.

    Best wishes

    Andrew Grace

    • Thanks for that Andrew, interesting to learn that they cant be done to species level from such a close-up photograph. No doubt in a few years time cameras will be able to record the kind of detail you need. Re visiting Pevensey levels which we discussed, how about the week beginning sunday June 5 but not 7th ?. I need to make another Lapwing survey visitthen. It should be as early in the morning as possible, sundays are good for driving- let me know what you think. There still seem to be a few migrant warblers turning up. best wishes A

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