A 30 Days Wild Minibeast Hunt

Blog post by The Wildlife Trusts on 17 Jun, 2021

At the just-past halfway point of this year's 30 Days Wild, The Wildlife Trust highlights some of the invertebrates you can be on the look-out for this June!

One of the most exciting things about 30 Days Wild is that it challenges you to look for nature everywhere. By looking more closely at the wild places around you, even if it's just a little patch of plants beside a pavement, you can discover all kinds of creatures that you might normally have walked right past without noticing.

Look under leaves, lift up logs (placing them back down carefully), peer into cracks and crevices - who knows what miniature marvels you might find! Some of our most common and overlooked plants, like brambles and nettles, can be a great place to start as insects love them. The broad, flat flowerheads of umbellifers are also worth checking, as they're very popular with many flies and beetles.

We've pulled together a short list of species you could spot this June to inspire you, but this is just a tiny snapshot of the wildlife waiting to be discovered!
 

Common blue butterfly

This bright blue gem of a butterfly is found in all kinds of grassy places, especially where the bright yellow flowers of bird's-foot trefoil grow - the favourite food of its caterpillars. You might find common blues in parks, woodland clearings, cemeteries, on road verges or golf courses, and even in larger gardens.

 

Red admiral

This bold black and red butterfly is a common sight in meadows, parks and gardens with lots of flowers. Red admirals are migrant butterflies that make impressive journeys from North Africa and continental Europe, though some now overwinter in the UK. Their caterpillars love to munch on common nettles.

 

Common blue damselfly

One of our most common damselflies, this slender insect can be seen around almost any body of water, from tiny ponds to lakes and rivers. There are several similar species in the UK, but male common blues can be identified by the rounded, mushroom-shaped black marking at the top of their abdomen, just behind the base of the wings. Females are darker overall and have a less distinctive thistle-shaped marking.

 

Cinnabar moth

This striking black and red moth is often seen flying on sunny days, but you're perhaps more likely to spot its stripy black and yellow caterpillars chomping on ragwort plants. Cinnabars can be found almost anywhere that ragwort is left to grow, including grasslands, sand dunes, old quarries and former industrial areas, even in towns and gardens.

 

Green tiger beetle

This shimmering green beetle is a fierce predator, which sprints across the ground to catch spiders, ants, caterpillars and other invertebrates. Green tiger beetles like sunny spots with lots of bare ground, and are often found on heaths, sand dunes, hillsides and former industrial sites.

 

Four-spotted chaser

This active dragonfly can be recognised by the two dark marks on the leading edge of each of its wings. Four-spotted chasers are often found around the edges of shallow lakes and rivers, where there are lots of tall plants for them to perch on.

 

Swallowtail butterfly

The swallowtail butterfly, which is Britain's largest butterfly, is now limited to the Norfolk Broads, choosing sites with a vigorous growth of milk parsley, where it lays its eggs on the tallest plants. Although the swallowtail is a rare British insect, if you go to the right place at the right time (usually an early morning on a windless day from late May to mid July), then with luck you may spot one!



You can find out more about 30 Days Wild here.

Header image: Swallowtail Butterfly by John Shepherd

Other images: Common blue butterfly by John Bridges, Red Admiral by Guy Edwardes 2020VISION, Common Blue Damselfly by Vicky Nall, Cinnabar Moth by Vaughn Matthews, Green Tiger Beetle and Four-Spotted Chaser by Ross Hoddinott 2020VISION, Swallowtail Butterfly by Elizabeth Dack

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