Category Archives: Quizzes

Sunday Quiz – Monochrome…..

Title Photo by Miraceti, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Black-headed gull (Title Photo)

Dear Readers, as winter comes on apace here in the UK, I have been thinking about how many plants are animals have the words ‘white’ or ‘black’ in their names, even when they aren’t either colour. The black-headed gull, for example, has a chocolate-brown head, and doesn’t even have that for most of the year.

So your challenge this week is a) to say whether the organisms depicted in the photos below belong in the ‘white’ or the ‘black’ category, and to make things fair there are eight of each. An extra point if you can name the critter/plant, giving a possible maximum score of 32 points.

All answers in the comments by 5 p.m. UK time on Friday 3rd December please, and the answers will be posted on Saturday December 4th. As usual I will make your answers disappear as soon as I see them, but write them down before looking at the comments if you are easily influenced by other people’s brilliance.

So, if you think the creature in photo 1 belongs in the black category, your answer is 1) Black. If you think that it’s a black-tailed spooglehound, you can put that in as well for an extra point.

Onwards!

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Sunday Quiz – Autumn Trees – The Answers!

Autumn trees in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery 13th November 2021

Dear Readers, how did you get on? The answer to the anagram was

Spindle
Yew
Cedar of Lebanon
Alder
Monkey Puzzle
Oak
Rowan
Elm

Claire got all the trees  right – the first tree is a mountain ash, also known as a rowan, and the Araucaria is also known as a monkey puzzle. Rayna got all the answers right (though she doubted her id. on the first tree), but because she did get the anagram right I think she just edged ahead this week. Well done to both of you! Let’s see what’s tomorrow has in store. 

1) Rowan

2) Alder

3) Elm

4) Yew

5) Spindle

6) Oak

7) Monkey Puzzle

8) Cedar of Lebanon

 

Sunday Quiz – Autumn Trees

Autumn trees in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery 13th November 2021

Dear Readers, this week we have a quiz with a twist! First of all, identify the eight trees shown below from their leaves/berries/twigs/buds etc etc. Then, take the first letter of each tree to make a ninth tree. Voila! You are a tree expert.

All answers in the comments by 5 p.m. UK time next Friday (19th November) please, and the solution will be published on Saturday 20th November. I think it’s especially important not to look at the comments until you’ve worked out the anagram – I will try to disappear any answers quickly, but there’s sometimes a delay between you posting your replies and me getting a notification.

Onwards!

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Sunday Quiz – Spooky Songs and Poems – The Answers!

Photo One by Dmitry Makeev, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Not in the least spooky….(Photo One)

Dear Readers, we had another good week on the quiz! Everyone identified correctly the animals that  the poems and songs were about, and some people managed to also find the poem or song and the artist. So, this week we have Claire with a most creditable result of 20/30, and Rayna and Fran and Bobby Freelove with 30 out of 30. Well done everybody, and have fun listening to and reading some of these masterpieces. 

  1. This is about a bat – it’s by Lewis Carroll, and is recited by the Mad Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Twinkle twinkle little XXXXX
How I wonder what you’re at
Up above the world so high
Like a tea tray in the sky

2. This is about a (black) cat and comes from the Poem ‘Black Cat’ by Rainer Maria Rilke.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

3. This is about a spider, and comes from ‘Boris the Spider’ by The Who, from ‘Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy’. You can have a listen here. Or not. It’s not quite ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again :-)’

Look, he’s crawling up my wall
Black and hairy, very small
Now he’s up above my head
Hanging by a little thread

4. This is about a snake, and comes from D.H Lawrence’s ‘Snake’. You can read the whole thing here.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.

5. This is, of course, from Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell. My misspent youth comes back to me as I listen to it, as this was on a constant loop in my student days. If you would like to have your misspent youth come back to you, the whole 8.10 minutes is available for a listen here. What a very unlikely rock hero Meatloaf is. 

But when the day is done
And the sun goes down
And the moonlight’s shining through
Then like a sinner before the gates of Heaven
I’ll come crawling on back to you

6. This is, of course, from Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

7. This is from Al Stewart’s ‘The Year of the Cat’. And here he is, on the Old Grey Whistle Test. This takes me back to my teens. 

She doesn’t give you time for questions
As she locks up your arm in hers
And you follow ’till your sense of which direction
Completely disappears
By the blue tiled walls near the market stalls
There’s a hidden door she leads you to
These days, she says, I feel my life
Just like a river running through
The year of the xxxxxx

8. ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ by Duran Duran. Good lord. Every video I could find of this song features ‘picturesque’ local people, half-naked black women on all fours and captive tigers used as props. The eighties really were abysmal. Bug Woman is having none of that nonsense on her blog! But you can listen to the song here. It’s not all bad.

In touch with the ground
I’m on the hunt I’m after you
Smell like I sound, I’m lost in a crowd
And I’m hungry like the xxxxxx
Straddle the line in discord and rhyme
I’m on the hunt I’m after you
Mouth is alive, with juices like wine
And I’m hungry like the xxxxxx

9. This is a classic nursery rhyme (about a spider of course) so happy to accept whatever version you come up with here. 

The itsy bitsy xxxxxxxxxx
Climbed up the waterspout
Down came the rain
And washed the xxxxxx out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy xxxxxxxxxx
Climbed up the spout again

10. ‘The Bat’ by Theodore Roethke (one of my favourite poets btw). You can read the whole thing here.

His fingers make a hat about his head.
His pulse beat is so slow we think him dead.

He loops in crazy figures half the night
Among the trees that face the corner light.

But when he brushes up against a screen,
We are afraid of what our eyes have seen:

Sunday Quiz – Spooky Songs and Poems

Photo One by Dmitry Makeev, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Not in the least spooky….(Photo One)

Dear Readers, it’s that time of year again, when small children keel over from chocolate overdose and tired parents make costumes out of tin foil and cardboard toilet roll centres because their little ones want to walk the street dressed as a robot. At least that was what used to happen in our house. Not that we had trick or treating in my day! Halloween involved, at the most, a ‘party’ where my peers gathered to scare the wits out of one another before retiring for a sleepless night at their own houses. Bonfire night was the big night, what with the baked potatoes and, in my house at least, the hotdogs. But more of that next week.

What I’d like you to do this week is peruse the lyrics below, and decide which creature they relate to. Some are from poems, and some are from songs. Extra points for the title of the aforesaid master/mistress work and for the artist/poet/author (so there are 30 points available in total). Several of the extracts below refer to the same animal, so be careful!

Answers in the comments by 5 p.m. UK time next Friday (5th November). The results and accolades will be posted next Saturday (6th November). I will disappear your answers as soon as I see them, but as usual if you are easily influenced write them down old school on a piece of paper first (though then you will need to rely on your own strength of will to avoid changing anything). I’m sure you are all made of stern stuff however, so you would never be tempted.

Let’s see how we do!

1.

Twinkle twinkle little XXXXX
How I wonder what you’re at
Up above the world so high
Like a tea tray in the sky

2.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

3.

Look, he’s crawling up my wall
Black and hairy, very small
Now he’s up above my head
Hanging by a little thread

4.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.

5.

But when the day is done
And the sun goes down
And the moonlight’s shining through
Then like a sinner before the gates of Heaven
I’ll come crawling on back to you

6.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

7.

She doesn’t give you time for questions
As she locks up your arm in hers
And you follow ’till your sense of which direction
Completely disappears
By the blue tiled walls near the market stalls
There’s a hidden door she leads you to
These days, she says, I feel my life
Just like a river running through
The year of the xxxxxx

8.

In touch with the ground
I’m on the hunt I’m after you
Smell like I sound, I’m lost in a crowd
And I’m hungry like the xxxxxx
Straddle the line in discord and rhyme
I’m on the hunt I’m after you
Mouth is alive, with juices like wine
And I’m hungry like the xxxxxx

9.

The itsy bitsy xxxxxxxxxx
Climbed up the waterspout
Down came the rain
And washed the xxxxxx out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy xxxxxxxxxx
Climbed up the spout again

10.

His fingers make a hat about his head.
His pulse beat is so slow we think him dead.

He loops in crazy figures half the night
Among the trees that face the corner light.

But when he brushes up against a screen,
We are afraid of what our eyes have seen:

Famous Animals – The Answers!

Whistlejacket, the Marquess of Rockingham’s race horse, as painted by George Stubbs (Public Domain)

Dear Readers, we have two perfect results for the quiz this week, from Fran and Bobby Freelove and from Rayna – 20/20 for both of you, so well done! Let’s see what I come up with for tomorrow 🙂

Photo One by By Stefan Schäfer, Lich - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19744828

1)

a) What’s the name of the horse (and for an extra point, what does the name mean?)

Bucephalus (ox-headed)

b) Who is the man who is trying to tame the horse?

Alexander the Great

2)

a) Who is this chimp?

Washoe

b) What was special about her?

She was the first non-human to use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate

3)

a) What’s the name of this dog?

Laika

b) She was the first animal to do what?

Orbit the earth (and was one of the first animals to go into space at all)

4)

a) What’s the name of this magnificent beast, and what was he named after?

Marengo, named after the Battle of Marengo (1800)_ 

b) Who was his rider?

Napoleon I

5)

a) What’s the name of this pigeon?

Cher Ami

b) What did he do to deserve a Croix de Guerre medal for bravery?

He delivered a message from his encircled battalion (part of the US 77th Infantry Division) who were encircled and being heavily bombarded by their own side. He arrived back at his loft at headquarters in spite of being shot through the breast, blinded in one eye and having one leg hanging off by a tendon. 

6)

a) Who is this (and for an extra point, who was she named after?)

Dolly the sheep, named after Dolly Parton

b) Why did she make the headlines in February 1997?

She was the first mammal cloned from an adult cell (taken in this case from a mammary gland, hence the (rather sexist) Dolly Parton connection. 

7)

a) Who and what is this?

Goldie the Golden Eagle

b) Why did this bird make the headlines in 1965?

Goldie escaped from London Zoo and was on the loose for 12 days, during which time he was frequently seen in Regent’s Park. He attacked and ate several ducks, and there are photos of him attempting to carry off a terrier, which was only rescued when the dog’s owner threatened the bird with an umbrella.

8)

a) Who is this rather startled horse, and who is his owner?

Incitatus, owned by the Roman Emperor Caligula 

b) What is being proposed as the horse’s new career?

According to Suetonius, Caligula planned to make the horse a consul, though whether this was a sign of his insanity, a prank or an attempt to insult the other members of the senate by suggesting that a horse could do their job is unclear.

9)

a) What’s the name of this Irish Wolfhound?

Gelert

b) What was his reward for saving this child?

In legend, the dog’s owner, Llywelyn the Great, returns from hunting to find the nursery overturned, the child missing and Gelert with blood on his muzzle. Fearing that the dog has killed the child, his owner stabs him, only to hear the child crying. Llywelyn then finds the body of a wolf (in some variations a snake) that the dog has killed to saved the infant. The dog’s body is buried with great ceremony, but according to the legends Llywelyn never smiles again. 

And last but not least…..

10)

a) This is Magawa. What species is he?

He is an African Pouched Rat

b) Why was he given a medal?

Magawa is trained to sniff out unexploded mines and ordnance, and had cleared 141,000 square metres of land in Cambodia, finding 71 landmines and 38 items of unexploded ordnance. He was the most successful rat trained by APOPO, a Belgian non-profit that trains the rats. He got the medal on the occasion of his (well-earned) retirement. 

Sunday Quiz – Famous Animals

Whistlejacket, the Marquess of Rockingham’s race horse, as painted by George Stubbs (Public Domain)

Dear Readers, below we have some famous animals. Can you answer the questions below each photo? Let’s hope this is a little bit easier than the leaf shapes from last week 🙂

There are ten animals, and two questions to be answered on each one, giving a total mark out of twenty (though there are a couple of opportunities for extra marks as you’ll see :-))

Answers in the comments by 5 p.m. UK time on Friday 22nd October please. The answers will be posted on Saturday 23rd October. As usual, I will disappear all the answers that I see so that they don’t influence those who come afterwards, but if you are easily swayed by the brilliance of others, write your answers down old-school on a piece of paper first.

Onwards!

Photo One by By Stefan Schäfer, Lich - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19744828

1)

a) What’s the name of the horse (and for an extra point, what does the name mean?)

b) Who is the man who is trying to tame the horse?

2)

a) Who is this chimp?

b) What was special about her?

3)

a) What’s the name of this dog?

b) She was the first animal to do what?

4)

a) What’s the name of this magnificent beast, and what was he named after?

b) Who was his rider?

5)

a) What’s the name of this pigeon?

b) What did he do to deserve a Croix de Guerre medal for bravery?

6)

a) Who is this (and for an extra point, who was she named after?)

b) Why did she make the headlines in February 1997?

7)

a) Who and what is this?

b) Why did this bird make the headlines in 1965?

8)

a) Who is this rather startled horse, and who is his owner?

b) What is being proposed as the horse’s new career?

9)

 

a) What’s the name of this Irish Wolfhound?b) What was his reward for saving this child?

And last but not least…..

10)

a) This is Magawa. What species is he?

b) Why was he given a medal?

Sunday Quiz – Leaf Shapes

Dearest Readers, the Royal Horticultural Society Gardening School teaches that there are 11 different basic leaf shapes (there are lots of others that they don’t seem to have included here, but bear with me :-)). All we need to do this week (‘all’ she says) is match the leaves below to their shape. I will give a bonus point if you can also tell me which plant the leaves come from. I will also give you a definition of what the shapes mean just to help you on your way. We are all going to learn something here, I’m sure (including me!)

In view of the similarities between some of these leaf shapes, I am also going to exercise some latitude if you are close – one person’s ovate might be another person’s oval, for example. I am using Francis Rose’s Wild Flower Key and the RHS site, but they are not always in agreement. Sigh. Let’s see how we get on, and I am open for debate, though Bugwoman’s final word is final (if you know what I mean).

Answers by next Friday (15th October) at 5 p.m. UK time please, and I will disappear your answers when I see them (though WordPress has been extremely remiss in notifying me just lately), so if you are easily influenced by the brilliance of others I suggest you write your answers down first.

So, if you think that the leaf in Photo 1 is a flabellate leaf, your answer is 1) A)

Onwards!

Leaf Shapes

A) Flabellate (resembling a fan)

B) Ovate (egg-like with the broader part at the base)

C) Elliptic (shaped like an ellipse) (leaf is twice as long as broad, with the broadest bit in the middle)

D) Lanceolate ( shaped like a spear head)

E) Perfoliate (a leaf with a base that appears to be pierced by the stem)

F) Spathulate (spoon-shaped)

G) Linear ( long and narrow)

H) Falcate (sickle-shaped, like the beak of a falcon)

I) Oblanceolate (shaped like an upside-down spear head)

J) Obovate (shaped like an upside-down egg, with the broader part at the top)

L) Oval (similar to elliptical but ‘fatter’ – the width is more than half the length, widest in the middle).

1)

Photo Two by Mehmet Karatay, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

2)

3)

4)

Photo Five by No machine-readable author provided. Lorenzarius assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons

5)

Photo Six by Dcrjsr, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

6)

Photo Seven by By Casliber - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15212665

7)

Photo Eight by Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1079274

8)

Photo Nine by Emőke Dénes, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

9)

Photo Ten by Σ64, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

10)

Photo Eleven by Matt Lavin from https://www.flickr.com/photos/plant_diversity/6124894886

11)

 

 

 

Sunday Quiz – Aliens!

A Martian in Woking (Photo by Colin Smith ) This is a metal sculpture, based on H G Well’s book ‘The War of the Worlds’

Dear Readers, this week we had Claire with 11 1/2 out of 15 and Fran and Bobby Freelove with 13 1/2 out of 15, so well done to all of you! The next quiz will be tomorrow, and I am wondering why I didn’t have the idea for it ages ago…I hope you enjoy it!

‘Alien’ animals can cause a range of reactions, but the history of how they got to the UK, and what their impact has been, fascinates me. In most cases, they arrived because we wanted them, and didn’t realise quite how keen they’d be to get back to the wild. Sometimes, they were hitchhikers, a result of the international trade in plants and artefacts. Very rarely, they flew here of their own accord and found the conditions to their liking. With climate change, and with our inadequate biosecurity regulations, we are going to have to get used to all manner of plants and animals arriving and setting up home. As always, it will be interesting to see how such encounters play out.

Photo One by Bouke ten Cate, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

1. Edible dormouse (Glis glis)

This attractive little rodent was deliberately released into the wild in 1902 (it comes originally from southern and central Europe). It is considered a menace because it can wreak havoc in lofts and roof spaces, and damages trees by stripping the bark. The Romans used to have special pots for keeping edible dormice until they were fat enough to eat. I must admit I thought that they had brought them to the UK, but it seems that if so they became extinct, and were re-introduced much more recently.

Photo Two by Ryzhkov Sergey, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

2. American mink (Neovison vison)

Farmed for their fur, some escaped while others were deliberately released, sometimes by well-meaning animal activists. However, these creatures are efficient predators, and their presence has been linked to the decline of the water vole and various ground-nesting birds. Their numbers might be decreasing slightly as the larger otter becomes more common.

Photo Three by Lilly M, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Sika deer

Originally introduced to populate the grounds of stately homes and estates, the sika was established in the wild by the 1930’s. It interbreeds with native red deer and can cause serious damage to crops, trees and sensitive habitats. There are lots in Dorset, and on our way back from Dorset last week our train nearly ran over two who were on the tracks.

Photo Four by Prue Simmons, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Racoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)

This animal (which is a canid not a raccoon) was introduced to the UK from East Asia for its fur. it isn’t established in the UK yet, but it is well established in many other parts of Europe so watch this space. Where it has established a foothold, it is a predator of birds and amphibians, and competes with native carnivores such as the fox and badger.

Photo Five by Bernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

5. Ring-necked/rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri)

Did Jimi Hendrix release a pair of these while he was on an acid trip, resulting in the many thousands of birds that are now common in London? It’s more likely that there were escapes and releases from multiple sites over a period of years. At any rate, the parrot is now moving north and west at an inexorable rate. It strips orchards and may compete with other hole-nesting birds, but personally I think that it brings a touch of the exotic to North London.

Photo Six by By Andreas Trepte - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=788401

6. Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus)

This medium-sized goose has been breeding in the wild after escaping from wild fowl collections since the early 1800’s, but has increased like billy-o since the 1980’s. It is well-established in the wild in Suffolk and Norfolk, and seems to be going west at a rate of knots. It can cause crop damage and pollute water bodies, but to be honest so can most wildfowl at high concentrations. Plus, to be complaining about pollution of water bodies when there’s so much agricultural and industrial run-off seems a bit hypocritical. Interestingly, they often seem to nest in hollow trees, which is quite a feat for a large aquatic bird.

Photo Seven by By Rhondle - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16504721

7. Red-eared terrapin (Trachemys scripta elegans)

I was only writing about these animals earlier this week. They can’t breed in the UK (yet) because the winters are still too cold, but individuals can live for up to thirty years, and there seems to be no limit to the number of people prepared to throw their pets into the nearest water body when they get too big. They are voracious predators of amphibians and invertebrates, even taking ducklings when they are tiny.

Photo Eight by Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

8. Marsh Frog  (Pelophylax ridibundus)

Deliberately introduced by the end of the 19th century, this chap is also known as the laughing frog because of his loud call. The frog is now well-established in Romney Marsh in Kent, the Somerset levels and the area around Tamworth. The species is apparently becoming more common, so keep an eye open….

Photo Nine by Dieter Florian (To contact the author, ask the uploader or take a look at tauchshop-florian.de.), CC BY-SA 3.0 DE <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons

9. Wels catfish (Siluris glanis)

This enormous fish, which can grow to 5 metres long and weigh 300kg, was deliberately introduced as a food fish. Hah! By the 1950’s it was swimming happily in managed stillwaters used by fisheries, and in some deep lowland rivers. It eats anything and everything, from frogs to water voles to ducks, and as you can see, there’s nothing in UK rivers that can outcompete it.

Photo Ten by Liquid Art, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

10. Rainbow Trout (Oncorhyncus mykiss)

The trout that made river fish available to the general public when fish farming really took off in the 1970s in the UK, rainbow trout seem to have problems breeding in the wild in the UK, and are still usually out-competed by the local brown trout. However, climate may be a factor in keeping them in check, and this is changing as we know. Again, watch this space.

Photo Eleven by David Perez, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

11. Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus)

Introduced from North America in the 1970s, this crayfish quickly found its way into the wild, and has caused the rapid decline of the native white-clawed crayfish through competition for food and other resources. It also spreads crayfish plague (who knew there was such a thing?) As if that wasn’t enough, it makes its burrows in the banks of water bodies, causing them to collapse, and eats the eggs and young of fish. There is a move afoot to persuade the UK public to eat more crayfish.

Photo Twelve by David Short from Windsor, UK, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

12. Harlequin ladybird

This much-maligned beetle comes originally from Asia, and was deliberately released in Europe as a biological control, presumably against aphids. Sadly, the harlequin ladybird is much more of a generalist predator than that, and when the aphids are gone it will turn its attentions to other insects, including the much smaller native ladybirds. It arrived in the UK in 2004 and made itself very much at home ever since. I think personally that it outcompetes other ladybirds than rather than actually eating them, but that’s anecdotal, based on a couple of years observation of one aphid-infested buddleia.

Photo Thirteen by Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

13. Asian hornet (Vespa volutina)

Oh lord the column inches devoted to this insect! It is true that it eats honeybees, but I suspect that it has been the cause of the death of more European hornets, hoverflies, wasps and native bees than any other creature. It is seen fairly regularly in the Channel Islands now, and I believe it’s also been spotted in Cornwall. It arrived in south-western France in some pots imported from Asia. It’s most likely to be spotted in areas where honeybees are kept, but it is still very unlikely to be seen in most of the UK. It is much darker in colour than our native hornet.

Photo Fourteen by David Short from Windsor, UK, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

14. Horse chestnut leaf miner moth (Cameraria ohridella)

This is the tiny creature responsible for our horse chestnut leaves become dry and crinkly and dropping off early every year. Little is known about it, except that it arrived as recently as 2002 on some imported plants, and has been spreading north and west ever since. Though it makes the trees look ugly, it doesn’t yet appear to affect their long-term health.

Photo Fifteen by Kleuske, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

15. Oak processionary moth caterpillars (Thaumetopoea processionea)

This little darling appeared in 2006 as a contaminant of imported plants and trees – it’s native to northern France. London appears to be the epicentre of its population at the moment, maybe because of a concentration of oak and hornbeam forest, which it seems to like (our local Coldfall and Cherry Tree woods have both had infestations recently). The insect can be a major defoliator of trees, and its hairs can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. It can also cause the eradication of populations of innocent caterpillars such as those of the ermine moth (which forms nets in bird cherry and some other trees, but causes no long term harm). Don’t just take a flamethrower to your tree, people!

Photo Credits

Photo One by Bouke ten Cate, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Two by Ryzhkov Sergey, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Three by Lilly M, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Four by Prue Simmons, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Five by Bernard Spragg. NZ from Christchurch, New Zealand, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Six  By Andreas Trepte – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=788401

Photo Seven By Rhondle – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16504721

Photo Eight by Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Nine by Dieter Florian (To contact the author, ask the uploader or take a look at tauchshop-florian.de.), CC BY-SA 3.0 DE <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Ten by Liquid Art, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Eleven by David Perez, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Twelve by David Short from Windsor, UK, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Thirteen by Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Fourteen by David Short from Windsor, UK, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Fifteen by Kleuske, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday Quiz – Crumble or Crumple? – The Answers!

Hawthorn Berries – Edible but astringent.

Dear Readers, it seems that you are all pretty reliable on the foraging front – even where people didn’t get the species right, you had a pretty good eye for what was edible and what wasn’t, which is a relief.  So, to the scores, which are out of 28 because I forgot to include Number 5: Christine got 22 out of 28, Rachael got 22 1/2 out of 28, and Claire and Mal at FEARN both got a perfect 28 out of 28, so well done everybody! I am going to open up the comments with your answers, and there are some great suggestions for how to use the edible berries – Mal mentions using sea buckthorn as a topping for cheesecake and Claire tells me that they are used for hand cream. Plus, Claire says, holly berries, though inedible, are macerated in alcohol to make brandy in Alsace. Who knew?

1) Edible – Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)

2) Edible – Dog Rose (Rosa canina)

3) Not Edible – Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara)

4) Not edible – Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

6) Not edible – Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

7) Not edible – Yew (Taxus baccata)

8) Edible – Elder (Sambucus nigra)

9) Edible – Himalayan Honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa)

10) Edible – Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus)

11) Not Edible – Ivy (Hedera helix)

12) Not Edible – Black Bryony (Tamus communis)

13) Not edible – Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)

14) Edible – Bramble/Blackcurrant (Rubus fruticosus agg.)

15) Not Edible – Cuckoopint/Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum)