Flying Ants and Deer Truffles

Male Wood Ants on Blaeberry above Nest

Its the time of year that male wood ants are preparing for their nuptial flight to mate with the queens.Usually we see these sexual ants on warm and humid days which is the climatic trigger for these giant ants to swarm. Many die as a result of birds and mammals but the ones who succeed start new colonies which are often linked to the mother colony by paths. Formica species(wood ants)are common through our Pinewoods and their presence is a good sign. They help guard the trees from pests such as aphids,therefore its important that these intricate nests are not disturbed as this can destroy the solid waterproof build.

Ant hill roof structure with winged ready to flight

 

 

About 80% of an ant is Formic acid. They can squirt this acid from their abdomen in defence. Some birds, like the Capercaillie and the Crow, will bath on an ant hill to “acid wash” themselves to rid their bird mites etc.

 

 

 

I came across the usual deer scrape to find what I first thought to be Tubers in amongst the peat.

After researching I have identified them as False Truffles or Elaphomyces Granulatus! which are in fact fungi.

A Roe Deer “scrape”

Elaphomyces Granulatus are also known as Deer Truffles because its a favourite food of the Roe Deer, Elaphos is greek for deer.

Deer Truffles,favourite food for Roe Deer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This next photo is a spiders cocoon shaped like an upside down wine glass. Its attached to Ling Heather and is quite small but perfectly made. I believe its a spider known as Agroeca Brunnea which is a type of Orb spider which is pretty common in northern Europe. Its also known as the Spiny legged Sac Spider which is reddish brown and difficult to see, if I take a photo I’ll post it or maybe even film it.

Spider Cocoon

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