Other insects

Carpenter Bee sp. (Xylocopa violacea/valga)
'Xylocopa' Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa violacea/valga). Most are presumably Xylocopa violacea (Violet Carpenter Bee); only males of this species can be easily recognised by the two orange antennal segments, females (and male X. valga) require microscopic examination, i.e. 'collection'... not something I'm willing to do.
This part of rural France is a superb place to study insects. The diversity of the countryside produces a diversity of insects not normally encountered in the UK outside of nature reserves. The existence of the hunting regime no doubt contributes, both through conserving woodland and by leaving fields fallow. Small fields like this can often be found around the periphery of villages - alive with butterflies and other insects by the end of April. Unfortunately these fields are the most vulnerable to housing development, whilst village centres sometimes fall into decay.
That said, for us the single most important habitat for insects has been our garden. One quickly discovers the importance of fruit trees, particularly those that blossom early like plum. These provide the launch pad for an increasing number and variety of insects throughout the summer and into the autumn - providing one plants a succession of pollen-rich flowering plants. I'm no gardener, but my wife sows from seed many plants like Honesty, Aquilegia, Borage, Giant Bellflower and Michaelmas Daisy - all both pleasing to the eye and great for insects. Together with the succession of fruit blossoms through to apple and pear, and flowering shrubs/climbers like Wisteria, Buddlea and Ivy, a small garden can provide plenty of interest for up to eight months of the year.



Reference sources; books;

Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe. Michael Chinery, London, 1986. The ultimate 'gateway' book and totally indispensible, even today. A work of pure genius.
The order of insect species broadly follows this guide, except where stated

Orthopteres de France, Belgique, Luxembourg & Suisse. Sardet/Roesti/Braud, Biotope Editions 2015. Wonderful guide to Grasshoppers, Bush-crickets and Crickets of France

A Field Guide to Grasshoppers and Crickets of Britain and Northern Europe. Heiko Bellman, Collins 1988. A super little book if you can find a copy.

Britain's Hoverflies: An Introduction to the Hoverflies of Britain. Ball/Morris, WILDGuides 2013

Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland. Falk/Lewington, Bloomsbury 2015

A Photographic Guide to Insects of Southern Europe & the Mediterranean. Paul D Brock, NatureBureau 2017

Reference sources; websites;

Insects - general...

Le Monde des Insectes
British Bugs
The Spiders of Europe and Greenland
Longhorn Beetles of the W. Palearctic
Beetle fauna of Germany
Discover Life - Insects
The Garden Safari
Grasshoppers of Europe

Flickr Navigate to Steven Falk's collections... (non-linkable) Very useful for all insect families covered by him so far.


LifeDesks - Syrphidae
Hoverfly Recording Scheme (UK)
Nature Guide UK - Hoverflies

Bees, bumblebees, wasps...

BWARS - Superb site, also gives European distribution
Atlas of European Bees
The Garden Safari - Hymenoptera
BTO - Garden Bumblebees
Dutch Bees
Discover Life - Bees and Wasps
Natural England - Help Save the Bumblebee
French species list - Bombus

Mayfly (Ephemera) sp.
Robber fly (Asilidae), Machimus sp.

Approach to insect identification

I don't kill insects for the purpose of species identification in order to build longer lists. If they can't be identified by photography then they remain unidentified, although often one can make an identification down to family level, sometimes to genus.

Approach to taxonomy

With insects, the 29-32 insect orders are often placed in the order of evolutionary complexity with the oldest and most primitive groups listed first. So first are the Apterygota (wingless insects with no true metamorphosis at all) starting with Thysanura, 3-pronged bristletails. This order normally proceeds through Endopterygota (Holometabolous insects with complete metamorphosis) ending with Hymenoptera (ants, bees, and wasps). Chinery (1986) roughly follows this order, but puts Coleoptera (beetles) at the end, for some reason. Brock (2017) appears to follow this order more faithfully, with some changes in the order presumably due to the latest DNA-based research. Some authorities simply list the orders alphabetically – not a bad idea considering the state of constant flux. Relatively speaking, chaos as far as I can make out. Together with constant DNA studies splitting species and rearranging any order(s) that do exist, nothing seems to be there to entice a new generation of observers.

List of species observed in the southern Vienne/Brenne since our arrival in January 2006.

Mayflies (Ephemeroptera)

Ephemera sp. (Mayfly sp.)

Grasshoppers, Bush-crickets and Crickets (Orthoptera)

Order follows the list in 'Orthopteres de France, Belgique, Luxembourg & Suisse', Sardet/Roesti/Braud, Biotope Editions, 2015

Phaneroptera falcata (Sickle-bearing Bush-cricket)
Phaneroptera nana (Mediterranean Katydid)
Leptophyes punctatissima (Speckled Bush-cricket)
Conocephalus fuscus (Long-winged Conehead)
Conocephalus dorsalis (Short-winged Conehead)
Ruspolia nitidula nitidula (Large Conehead)
Ephippiger diurnus diurnus (Western Saddle Bush-cricket)
Tettigonia viridissima (Great Green Bush-cricket)
Platycleis albopunctata albopunctata (Grey Bush-cricket)
Tessellana tessellata tessellata (Brown-spotted Bush-cricket)
Roeseliana roeselii (Roesel's Bush-cricket)
Pholidoptera griseoaptera (Dark Bush-cricket)

Gryllus campestris (Field Cricket)
Nemobius sylvestris (Wood Cricket)
Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa (Mole Cricket)

Tetrix subulata (Slender Groundhopper)
Tetrix undulata (Common Groundhopper)

Calliptamus italicus italicus (Italian Locust)
Calliptamus barbarus barbarus (Barbarian Grasshopper)
Oedipoda Caerulescens caerulescens (Blue-winged Grasshopper)
Aiolopus strepens
Aiolopus thalassinus thalassinus (Long-winged Grasshopper)
Mecostethus parapleurus parapleurus (Leek Grasshopper)
Stethophyma grossum (Large Marsh Grasshopper)
Chrysochraon dispar dispar (Large Gold Grasshopper)
Paracinema tricolor bisignata (Tricolor Grasshopper)
Omocestus rufipes (Woodland Grasshopper)
Gomphocerippus rufus (Rufous Grasshopper)
Pseudochorthippus parallelus parallelus (Meadow Grasshopper)
Chorthippus dorsatus dorsatus (Steppe Grasshopper)
Chorthippus albomarginatus albomarginatus (Lesser Marsh Grasshopper)
Chorthippus brunneus brunneus (Common Field Grasshopper)
Chorthippus mollis mollis (Lesser Field Grasshopper)
Chorthippus biguttulus biguttulus (Bow-winged Grasshopper)
Euchorthippus declivus (Common Straw Grasshopper)
Euchorthippus elegantulus (Elegant Straw Grasshopper)

Mantids and Stick Insects (Dictyoptera, Phasmida)

Mantis religiosa (Praying Mantis)
Clonopsis gallica (French Stick Insect)

Bugs (Hemiptera)

Canthophorus impressus (Down Shieldbug)
Eurydema oleracea (Crucifer Shieldbug)
Graphosoma italicum (AC Milan Shieldbug)
Palomena prasina (Green Shieldbug)
Nezara viridula (Southern Green Shieldbug)
Rhaphigaster nebulosa (Mottled Shieldbug)
Carpocoris fuscispinus (Shield bug sp.)
Dolycoris baccarum (Sloe Bug, Hairy Shieldbug)
Coreus marginatus (Dock Bug)
Verlusea rhombea (Squash bug sp.)
Coriomeris denticulatus (Denticulate Leatherbug)
Stictopleurus abutilon (Squash bug sp.)
Corizus hyoscyami (Black & Red Squash Bug)
Camptopus lateralis (Broad-headed Bug)
Pyrrhocoris apterus (Fire Bug)
Dicranocephalus albipes (Stenocephalidae)
Berytidae sp. (Stilt Bug sp.)
Pirates hybridus (Assassin Bug sp.)
Rhinocoris annulatus (Spined Assassin Bug)
Spilostethus pandurus (Ground bug sp.)
Deraeocoris ruber (Red Bug)
Lygocoris pabulinus (Common Green Capsid)
Capsodes flavomarginatus (Mirid bug sp.)
Calocoris nemoralis (Mirid bug sp.)
Adelphocoris lineolatus (Lucerne Bug)
Leptopterna dolabrata (Meadow Plant Bug)

Gerris lacustris (Common Pond Skater)
Ranatra linearis (Water Stick Insect)
Corixidae sp. (Water Boatman sp.)

Centrotus cornutus (Horned Treehopper)
Stictocephala bisonia (Buffalo Treehopper)
Cercopis vulnerata (Black & Red Froghopper)
Cicadella viridis (Green Leafhopper)

Antlions, Lacewings and allies (Neuroptera)

Distoleon tetragrammicus (Antlion sp.)
Libelloides coccajus (Owlfly sp.)
Libelloides longicornis (Owlfly sp.)
Chrysopa perla (Green Lacewing)
Sialis lutaria (Alder Fly)

Scorpion Flies (Mecoptera)

Panorpa communis (Common Scorpionfly)
Panorpa meridionalis (Scorpion Fly sp.)

Western Bee-fly (Bombylius canescens)
Vespa crabro (Hornet)
Roesel's Bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeselii) M
Mason bee sp. Osmia cornuta

True flies (Diptera)

Tipula paludosa (European Crane Fly)
Nephrotoma appendiculata (Spotted Crane Fly)
Ctenophora festiva (Crane fly sp.)

Chloromyia formosa (Broad Centurian)
Rhagionidae sp. (Snipe Fly sp.)
Tabanus sp. (Horsefly sp.)

Bombylius canescens (Western Bee-fly)
Bombylius major (Dark-edged Bee-fly)
Anthrax anthrax (Black Bee-fly)
Hemipenthes morio (Bee-fly sp.)

Asilis crabroniformis (Hornet Robberfly)
Choerades gilvus (Ginger Robberfly)
Asilidae (Machimus) sp. (Robberfly sp.)
Asilidae sp. (Robberfly sp.)
Thereva sp. (Stiletto fly sp.)
Empis tessellata (Dagger fly sp.)
Conops silaceus (Thick-headed fly sp.)
Physocephala chrysorrhoea (Thick-headed fly sp.)
Physocephala vittata (Thick-headed fly sp.)
Sicus ferrugineus (Thick-headed fly sp.)
Orellia falcata (Tephritid fly sp.)
Platystoma seminationis (Signal Fly, Platystomatidae sp.)

Phasia aurulans (Tachinid fly sp.)
Ectophasia oblonga/E. crasipennis (Tachinid fly sp.)
Cylindromyia bicolor (Tachinid fly sp.)
Peleteria rubescens (Tachinid fly sp.)
Tachina fera (Tachinid fly sp.)
Tachina grossa (Giant Tachinid Fly)
Gymnosoma rotundatum (Tachinid fly sp.)

Sarcophaga sp. (Flesh fly sp.)
Neomyia cornicina (Greenbottle sp.)
Stomorhina lunata (Locust Blowfly)
Musca domestica (Common House Fly)
Scathophaga stercoraria (Yellow Dung Fly)

Hoverflies (Diptera, family Syrphidae)

Order alphabetical. Common names appear to be a matter of conjecture - the more established ones are added in brackets;

Caliprobola speciosa (Green Forest Hoverfly)
Chrysotoxum festivum (Beaded Chrysotoxum)
Chrysotoxum cautum (Large Wasp Hoverfly)
Chrysotoxum vernale
Episyrphus balteatus (Marmalade Hoverfly)
Epistrophe eligans
Eristalis arbustorum (Plain-faced Dronefly)
Eristalis nemorum (Stripe-faced Dronefly)
Eristalis pertinax (Tapered Dronefly)
Eristalis similis (Glass-winged Dronefly)
Eristalis intricarius (Furry Dronefly)
Eristalis tenax (Stripe-eyed Dronefly)
Eristalinus sepulchralis (Small Spotty-eyed Dronefly)
Eupeodes corollae
Helophilus pendulus (Common Tiger Hoverfly)
Helophilus trivittatus (Large Tiger Hoverfly)
Milesia crabroniformis
Myathropa florea
Platycheirus sp (s)
Rhingia campestris (Common Snout-hoverfly)
Scaeva pyrastri (White-clubbed Scaeva)
Scaeva selenitica/Scaeva dignota
Sphaerophoria scripta (Long Hoverfly)
Spilomyia triangulata
Syritta pipiens
Syrphus ribessii/Syrphus rectus
Syrphus torvus
Syrphus vitripennis/Syrphus torvus
Merodon equestris (Narcissus Bulb Fly)
Volucella pellucens (Large Pied Hoverfly)
Volucella zonaria (Hornet Hoverfly)
Xanthogramma pedissequum (Superb Ant-hill Hoverfly)
Xanthogramma pedissequum/Xanthogramma stackelbergi

Scaeva pyrastri (White-clubbed Scaeva) F
Eristalis nemorum (Stripe-faced Dronefly)
Eristalis nemorum (Stripe-faced Dronefly)

Wasps, bees, ants and relatives (Hymenoptera)

Macrophya montana (Sawfly sp.)
Macrophya sp. (Sawfly sp.)
Arge melanochroa (Sawfly sp.)
Arge pagana (Large Rose Sawfly)
Arge cyanocrocea (Bramble Sawfly)
Tenthredo scrophulariae (Figwort Sawfly)
Tenthredo temula (Sawfly sp.)
Rhogogaster viridis (Green Sawfly)

Brachymeria tibialis (Chalcid wasp sp.)
Atanycolus sp. (Braconid wasp sp.)
Gasteruption jaculator (Gasteruptiidae)
Leucospis dorsigera (Leucospidae)
Ophion sp. (Ophioninae, Short-tailed ichneumon wasps)
Amblyteles armatorius (Ichneumonidae)
Ichneumon sarcitorius (Ichneumonidae)
Habrocampulum biguttatum (Ichneumonidae)
Perithous sp. (Ichneumonidae)
Pimplinae sp. (Ichneumonidae)
Chrysis sp. (Ruby-tailed wasp sp.)
Tiphia femorata (Beetle-killing Wasp)
Scolia hirta (Hairy Flower Wasp)

Formica rufa (Southern Wood Ant)

Phylogeny in apparent state of flux for wasps. Order followed here is Pompilidae (Spider-hunting wasps), Vespidae (Social, Potter and Mason wasps), Sphecidae (Sand wasps) and Crabronidae (Digger wasps);

Aporus unicolor (Purseweb Spider-wasp)
Episyron sp. (Pompilidae)
Ectemnius sp. (Crabronidae)
Ancistrocerus nigricornis (Vespidae)
Eumenes coarctatus (Heath Potter Wasp)
Polistes dominula/gallicus (Paper wasp sp.)
Vespa crabro (Hornet)
Vespa velutina (Asian Hornet)
Vespula germanica (German wasp)
Vespula vulgaris (Common Wasp)
Ammophila sabulosa (Red-banded Sand Wasp)
Isodontia mexicana (Grass-carrying Wasp)
Podalonia hirsuta (Hairy Sand Wasp)
Prionyx kirbii (Sphecidae)
Sphex funerarius rufocinctus (Sphecidae)
Lestica clypeata (Crabronidae)
Lestica sp. (Crabronidae)
Bembix rostrata (Crabronidae)
Cerceris arenaria (Sand-tailed Digger Wasp)
Cerceris rybyensis (Ornate-tailed Digger Wasp)
Philanthus triangulum (Bee Wolf)
Tachytes panzeri (Crabronidae)

For bees order roughly follows the list in 'Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland', Falk/Lewington, Bloomsbury 2015

Colletes fodiens (Hairy-saddled Colletes)
Colletes hederae (Ivy Bee)
Hylaeus sp. (Yellow-faced Bee sp)
Andrena agilissima (Violet-winged Mining-bee)
Andrena angustior (Groove-faced Mining Bee)
Andrena haemorrhoa (Orange-tailed mining bee)
Andrena flavipes (Yellow-legged Mining Bee)
Halictus quadricinctus (Giant Furrow Bee)
Halictus scabiosae (Great Banded Furrow Bee)
Lasioglossum sexnotatum (Ashy Furrow Bee)
Lasioglossum calceatum (Common Furrow Bee)
Sphecodes albilabris (Halictidae)
Anthidium septemspinosum (Wool carder bee sp.)
Anthidium oblongatum (Wool carder bee sp.)
Osmia cornuta (Mason bee sp.)
Megachile centuncularis (Patchwork Leaf-cutter Bee)
Megachile ligniseca (Wood-carving Leaf-cutter Bee)
Coelioxys sp. (Sharp-tailed bee sp.)
Nomada goodeniana (Gooden's Nomad Bee)
Nomada flavopicta (Blunthorn Nomad Bee)
Nomada fucata (Painted Nomad Bee)
Epeolus fallax (Variegated cuckoo-bee sp.)
Eucera sp. (Long-horned bee sp.)
Tetraloniella graja (Long-horned bee sp.)
Anthophora plumipes (Hairy-footed Flower Bee)
Ceratina cucurbitina (Small carpenter bee sp.)
Xylocopa violacea (Violet Carpenter Bee)
(?)'Xylocopa' Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa valga)

Bombus hortorum (Garden Bumblebee)
Bombus soroeensis (Broken-belted bumblebee)
Bombus lapidarius (Red-tailed Bumblebee)
Bombus terrestris/lucorum (Buff/White-tailed Bumblebee)*
*NB: European (continental) B. terrestris has a whitish tail and paler yellow bands!
Bombus sp. (Carder bee sp.)
Bombus pratorum (Early Bumblebee)
Bombus ruderarius (Red-shanked Carder Bee)
Bombus ruderatus (Large Garden Bumblebee)
Bombus sylvarum (Shrill Carder Bee)
Bombus (Psithyrus) sp. (Cuckoo bumblebee sp)

Apis mellifera (Western Honey Bee)

Garden bumblebee (Bombus hortorum)
Carder-bee (Bombus) sp.

Beetles (Coleoptera)

Cicindela campestris (Green Tiger Beetle)
Cicindela hybrida (Dune Tiger Beetle)

Dorcus parallelipipedus (Lesser Stag Beetle)
Lucanus cervus (Stag Beetle)
Sinodendron cylindricum (Rove beetle sp.)
Geotrupes stercoriarius (Dor Beetle)
Copris lunaris (Scarab beetle sp.)

Melolontha melolontha (Cockchafer)
Amphimallon solstitialis (Summer Chafer)
Hoplia caerulea (Blue Chafer)
Trichius gallicus (Bee beetle sp.)
Oxythyrea funesta (Chafer beetle sp.)
Cetonia aurata (Rose Chafer)
Cetonia aeruginosa (Chafer beetle sp.)
Epicometis hirta (Hairy Beetle)
Valgus hemipterus (Scarab Beetle sp.)

Anthaxia millefolii polychloros (Jewel beetle sp.)

(?)Aplotarsus incanus (Click Beetle sp.)

Lampyris noctiluca (Glow Worm)

Cantharis rustica (Rustic Sailor Beetle)
Cantharis fusca (Soldier beetle sp.)
Cantharis livida (Soldier beetle sp.)
Rhagonycha fulva (Common Red Soldier Beetle)
Clerus mutillarius (Soldier beetle sp.)
Trichodes alvearius (Bee-hive Beetle)
Malachius bipustulatus (Malachite Beetle)

Coccinella 7-puntata (7-Spot Ladybird)
Psyllobora 22-punctata (22-Spot Ladybird)
Adalia bipuntacta (2-Spot Ladybird)
Harmonia axyridis (Harlequin Ladybird)
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata (14-spot Ladybird)
(?)Henosepilachna elaterii (Melon Ladybird Beetle)

Pyrochroa serraticornis (Cardinal beetle sp.)
Oedemera nobilis (False Oil Beetle)
Meloe violaceus (Oil beetle sp.)

Clytus arietis (Wasp Beetle)
Chlorophorus figuratus (Longhorn beetle sp.)
Strangalia cf maculata (Black & Yellow Longhorn Beetle)
Cerambyx scopolii (Capricorn Beetle)
Stictoleptura cordigera (Longhorn beetle sp.)
Brachyleptura fulva (Longhorn beetle sp.)

Donacia versicolorea (Leaf Beetle sp.)
Cryptocephalus aureolus (Leaf Beetle sp.)
Cryptocephalus sericeus (Leaf Beetle sp.)
Cryptocephalus bipunctatus (Leaf Beetle sp.)
Timarcha tenebricosa (Bloody-nosed Beetle)
Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Colorado Beetle)
Cassida viridis (Green Tortoise Beetle)

Lixus paraplecticus (Weevil sp.)
Curculio venosus (Acorn Weevil)
Larinus australis (Weevil sp.)

Dytiscus marginalis (Great Diving Beetle)
Acilius sulcatus (Lesser Diving Beetle)

Other arthropods

Scutigera coleoptrata (House Centipede)
Tachypodoiulus niger (Black Millipede)

Opiliones sp. (Harvestman sp.)

Tetragnatha striata (Striped Stretch-spider)
Tetragnatha sp. (Stretch-spider sp.)

Araneus diadematus (Garden Spider)
Argiope bruennichi (Wasp Spider)
Pisaura mirabilis (Nursery Web Spider)

Dolomedes fimbriatus/D. plantarius (Raft/Great Raft Spider)

Xysticus audax (Crab spider sp.)
Xysticus cristatus (Crab spider sp.)
Xysticus robustus (Crab spider sp.)
Misumena vatia (Crab spider sp.)
Synema globosum (Crab spider sp.)
Misumena vatia (Goldenrod Crab Spider)

Marpissa muscosa (Fencepost jumper)