First of all, you need to find the insect in the first place. And being Scotland it is invariably windy and rainy which means that the insects are usually cowering under a leaf somewhere rather than preening themselves in full view on top of a leaf in the sunshine.
Then, once you’ve actually managed to find one, you have to be able to stick your camera as close to it as possible whilst the leaf is blowing wildly in the wind and before the insect jumps, flies, burrows, scuttles or hides away - or before it simply takes fright and plays plain dead!
Please note that all photos were taken “au natural” and no insect was injured in the process. Unlike some photographers, I don’t feel the need to get the ideal shot by sticking a pin through them, beating bushes or setting traps to gather them, or as I’ve seen suggested, sticking them in the fridge to make them more “docile” – tempting though it may be.
Here is a collection of the insects I have managed to snap with a short ditti of “interesting” information to go with each. Hopefully, this will help you to identify a Scottish insect.
I know that identifying a species for sure often can't be done without dissecting the poor beast. Some of my identifications will therefore be less than certain. As a very amateur entomologist and an even more amateur photographer, all tips, corrections, thoughts and comments are very welcome and I will be happy to make any necessary changes.
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Parasitic wasp on current gall (Neuroterus quercusbaccarum)
Net-winged Beetle (Dictyoptera aurora) Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
Thistle Tortoise Beetle (Cassida rubiginosa) Fourteen-spot Ladybird (Propylea 14-punctata)
White-faced Darter (Lencorchinia dubia) Common Backswimmer nymph (Notonecta glauca)
Northern damselfly (Coenagrion hastulatum)
Bee Beetle/Bee Chafer (Trichius fasciatus) Black Darter (male)(Sympetrum danae)
Devil's Coach-Horse (Ocypus opens)
Whilst the internet in general has helped me identify many of these insects, my main sources of information are and have been the following (although please note, they can take no responsibility for any incorrect information or identifications on this website):
Colins Complete Guide to British Insects by Michael Chinery;
Field Guid to Insects of Britain and Northern Europe by Bob Gibbons;
Britain's Plant Galls by Michael Chinery
A brief guide to identifying Scottish insects colloquially known as 'bugs'. Photographs of all the insects are included to aid identification of the various species and brief information has been included about the insects, their habitat, eating habits and distinctive features. Almost all Scottish insects also live throughout Britain but many British insects only live in England. This website is dedicated to Scottish insects only although it will be a useful guide which will apply to most of the UK. Many people call insects bugs but bugs are in fact a subset of insects, which is why they are often referred to as true bugs.
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