Sunday, 24 April 2016

Winged Wonders

2014: Alderney Ladybirds (Designer: Petula Stone)
I always marvel at the  tiny perfection of ladybirds and they appear like little jewels on this FDC.  Lets count the spots from the top left -  seven on the most common so of course that is the 7 spotted ladybird (always welcome in a a garden as they, and their larva, munch their way through hundreds of aphids) next to it is a newly hatched 7 spotted ladybird, waiting for its colour and spots.  Next comes the 2 spotted ladybird whose patterning and colour can be quite variable, all adding interest for the ladybird lover.  It is also the ladybird that is most likely to overwinter in houses. 
The bottom line of stamps features an Orange ladybird which feeds on the fungal diseases on leaves, such as mildew.  Living high in deciduous trees it often flies at night and its presence is seen as an indicator of the ancient nature of a particular woodland.  Lastly we have a species that is pretty but lethal, the Harlequin.  Introduced into Europe because of its effectiveness at eliminating aphids it soon became apparent that it ate virtually all insects, including other ladybirds.
Another of my favourite invertebrates is my next choice, GB's 2015 Bees set.  The artist, Anna Ekelund has chosen to show them with the plant we are likely to see them on while walking the countryside or lazing in the garden. Lets buzz around the FDC clockwise from the bottom left :-
 1)Northern Colletes (Colletes floralis) on a Wild Carrot;  2) Scabious Bee (the largest solitary bee) on yes you have guessed it, a Field Scabious flower. 3) The Great Yellow Bumblebee on a Bird's Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) while it forages in grassland. 4) the Bilberry Bumblebee which likes to be at higher altitudes and feed on bilberry plants (Vaccinium myrtillus) 5) Large Mason Bee, Britain's rarest solitary bee, on a Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa) and lastly 6) Potter Flower Bee (Anthophora retusa) on Ground Ivy.

An entry to Sunday Stamps II theme - invertebrates - for more spineless wonders See It On A Postcard  


FinnBadger said...

The set of bee stamps from Royal Mail is one of the most beautiful sets from last year - absolutely stunning.

Love the ladybirds, too!

Heleen said...

I have been a lucky receiver of few of the (bumble) bee stamps. Great to see the complete serie, what a beautiful FDC!

The Harlequin ladybird (in Dutch we name it 'multicoloured Asian ladybird' = 'veelkleurig Aziatisch lieveheersbeestje'), recognizable by the 'M' shaped black-on-white on their heads, looks nice but is becoming a problem here, too. I'm afraid the two- and zeven-spotted ladybirds are loosing too much place since the introduction of the Harlequin..
Beautiful FDC though, too!

viridian said...

Here in the USA the first ones are called ladybugs.
I've come to appreciate bees more over the years, given all the pollinating they do!

VioletSky said...

Love the FDC. Honey bees are wonderful creatures (and honey is one of my favourite foods)
I didn't realize there were so many different varieties of ladybirds.

Bob Scotney said...

Love the bee stamps. Bees are so important to us. Ladybirds do a useful job too.