Reader Ray Perrins, from England, sent me a photo he took in his garden. It shows the fascinating natural history—and natural drama—that can be found even in your own back yard. I should add that what Ray didn’t mention, but is very obvious in the photo, is that this hoverfly is almost certainly a Batesian mimic of a bee. (“Batesian mimicry” is the phenomenon in which an edible, tasty species evolves to resemble a dangerous or distasteful species that predators have learned to avoid.) Indeed, this resemblance is probably why hoverflies are sometimes called “droneflies.”
As you occasionally publish readers’ photos, I thought I would submit the attached. It isn’t a raptor or kitteh but I hope you enjoy it, even if it doesn’t make your blog err website.
It is of a flower crab spider nomming a hoverfly (possibly Eristalis tenax looking at the wing veination). For completeness the flower is a white lilac (Syringa).
I thought it might be of interest as it shows that there is fascinating biology to be seen, even if you don’t live in the Mauritius. I took this photo in my back garden in the village of Cheddar in the South West of England, and what a wonderfully camouflaged ambush predator! One of my friends called it “beautifully sinister”, which sums it up pretty well. I took the photo with a cheap (less than £100) digital camera, which also shows what can be done if you take loads of photos and then shift through for the best ones.
Links for more information on what I think is the right species of spider, Misumena vatia from the Natural History Museum: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/insects-spiders/bug-forum/?q=node/182
They can apparently change colour (slowly) to match the flower they are on.