Olav's Wood: Invertebrates

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Invertebrates in Olav's Wood

Here are a records of invertebrates, including insects and other arthropods, and molluscs, found in the woods. Thanks especially to Lee Johnson (LJ), and also to Andy Mitchell (AM), for these records and photographs. The unacknowledged records on this page are those from Lee Johnson's record list.

One of the recent developments illustrating the value of Olav's Wood for wildlife is that several species new to Orkney have been discovered in the woods by Lee Johnson. These are marked * below.

There is a separate butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) page. For invertebrates in the burn, see the Fauna of Oback Burn.


1. Hymenoptera (Bees, Wasps, Ants, etc.)

The BWARS (Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society) website is recommended for Hymenoptera in Britain and Ireland.


This list of bee species in the woodland is supplied by Andy Mitchell and Lee Johnson:

Apis mellifera - European Honey Bee (LJ, April 2015)
Bombus distinguendus - Great Yellow Bumblebee (AM)
Once widespread in Britain its range has "contracted alarmingly". It is now restricted to some Hebridean islands, the north coast of Scotland and Orkney. Elsewhere it is distributed widely in the northern Palaearctic from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Bombus (Megabombus) hortorum - Small Garden Bumblebee (LJ, June 2015)
A widespread bumblebee in Britain.
Bombus lucorum - White-tailed Bumblebee (AM)
A common and widespread bumblebee (a queen was recorded in the woods by Lee Johnson, April 2015)
Bombus muscorum - Moss Carder Bee (LJ, on Hestily side of woodland)
An uncommon and declining bumblebee, formerly found across large parts of Britain. Its stronghold is in the north and west of Scotland, but it is found in some coastal and hill areas elsewhere.
Bombus pascuorum - Common Carder Bee (AM)
A fairly recent incomer to Orkney and, in Britain, is extending its range northwards.


Myrmica ruginodis - An ant species found in more northerly and high altitude zones than the common red ant (LJ, 2015)


Dolerus sp. (LJ)
Platycampus luridiventris - Lava found on the underside of an Alder leaf. Alder is its foodplant. (LJ, 17 Sept 2018)
Pontania proxima - Willow Redgall Sawfly (LJ)


Andricus curvator - A Cynipid oak gall wasp (possibly a new Orkney record: LJ, 13th June 2017)
Doliuchovespula (Pseudovespula) sylvestris - Tree Wasp (LJ)
Ichneumonoidea - Ichneumon wasps (LJ)
Vespula rufa - Red Wasp (LJ)

In addition, there is evidence of braconid wasp parasitation in the woods.

These galls on a young oak in Olav's Wood are
caused by a Cynipid wasp Andricus curvator.
Inside the gall is an inner gall. This could well be a
new record for Orkney. (LJ, 13th June 2017)
Sawfly larva Platycampus luridiventris
on the underside of an alder leaf
(LJ, 17th Sept 2018).

2. Diptera (Flies)

A list of Diptera from Lee Johnson's records (2014-19). Hoverflies (Syrphidae) are listed separately below.
Aphidoletes sp. - An Aphid Midge
Argyra sp. - A Long-legged Fly
Beris sp. - A Soldier Fly
Beris chalybata - Murky-legged Black Legionnaire
Bibio pomonae - Red-thighed St. Mark's Fly/Heather Fly
Calliphora vicina - A blowfly
Calliphora vomitoria - A blowfly (LJ, 14 Aug 2018)
Cerodontha iridaeos - Iris Leaf-miner (LJ, 21 Aug 2018)
An uncommon fly in Orkney, whose larvae feed on iris leaves (Iris pseudacorus)
Chrysopilus cristatus - Black Snipefly
Dicranomyia modesta - A Crane Fly
Dolichopodidae - Long-legged Flies
Ectopsocus petersi - A barkfly
Elachiptera cornuta agg. - A frit (or grass) fly (Chloropidae), a possible first record for Orkney
Empididae - Dagger Flies
Haematopota - A Horsefly
Hydrotaea diabolus
Limonia nubeculosa - A Crane Fly
Limonia trivittata - A Crane Fly
Meiosimyza rorida
Muscidae - House Flies
Mesembrina meridiana - Noon Fly
* Molophilus ater - A small crane fly
A new record for Orkney (LJ, May 2016)
Ptychoptera albimana - A Phantom Crane Fly
This species is more commonly recorded in the south of Britain.
Rhypholophus varius - A Crane Fly
Scathophaga furcata - A Yellow Dung Fly
Scathophaga stercoraria - Common Yellow Dung Fly
Tabanidae - Horse Flies (on Hestily side of woodland)
Tipula maxima - A Crane Fly
The largest of the British crane flies.
Tipula oleracea - A Crane Fly
Tipula paludosa - A Crane Fly
Tipula rufina - A Crane Fly
This small crane fly, Molophilus ater, was recorded in Olav's Wood in May 2016 by Lee Johnson.
This is a new record for Orkney. This species is locally common in other parts of the UK. Adults
appear in late May or early June. Although it has wings, it is essentially flightless.
This little frit (or grass) fly (Chloropidae)
was found in leaf litter and rough grass
on the edge of Olav's Wood, Elachiptera
cornuta agg
. This is possibly a first record
for Orkney (LJ, March 2017).
Calliphora vomitoria blowflies feeding on
rose hips at Olav's Wood (LJ, 14th Aug 2018).
A tiny Aphid Midge larva (Aphidoletes sp.)
on a willow leaf which has been infected
with a rust in Olav's Wood
(LJ, 7th Aug \ 2017).
The leafmine of the iris leafminer fly
Cerodontha iraeos (LJ, 21st Aug 2018).
Red-thighed St Mark's Fly (Bibio pomonae)
photographed on Rosa rugosa leaves in
Olav's Wood in July 2016.
A Sawfly (Tenthredo sp.?) photographed in
Olav's Wood in July 2016.
Yellow Dung Fly (Scathophaga stercoraria)
photographed in Olav's Wood in July 2016.

Hoverflies (Syrphidae)

This list of hoverflies found in the woods was contributed by Lee Johnson (2015-19).

Episyrphus balteatus - Marmalade Hoverfly
Eristalis abusivus - Levels Drone Fly
Eristalis arbustorum - A Drone Fly
Eristalis intricarius - A bumblebee mimic
Eristalis pertinax - Tapered Drone Fly
Eristalis tenax - Common Drone Fly
Eupeodes corollae
Helophilus pendulus
Leucozona lucorum
Melanostoma scalare
* Melangyna lasiophthalma - A new record for Orkney (LJ, 2016. See the photograph below)
Platycheirus albimanus
Platycheirus granditarsus
Platycheirus manicatus
Rhingia campestris
Scaeva pyrastri (on the Hestily side of the woodland)
Sericomyia silentis
Syritta pipiens - Thick-legged Hoverfly
Syrphus sp.
Volucella bombylans - A bumblebee mimic
Xylota segnis
The hoverfly Sericomyia silentis - a male
(LJ, 12th Aug 2017).
A hoverfly Syrphus sp. (LJ, 10th May 2018).
The hoverfly Melangyna lasiophthalma
photographed in Olav's Wood in April 2017 by
Lee Johnson. This is a new record for Orkney.
It is a Spring-flying hoverfly.
The hoverfly Rhingia campestris photographed
in a Rosa rugosa flower in Olav's Wood in July 2016.

3. Coleoptera (Beetles)

From Lee Johnson's records (2015 onwards), unless otherwise noted:

Aphidecta obliterata - Larch Ladybird
Picture (L. Johnson) from Olav's Wood below. This is only recently (2015) recorded in Orkney, by Lee Johnson,
and records in the far north of Scotland are rare.
Aphodius (Acrossus) depressus - a Dung Beetle
Cantharis nigricans - A Soldier Beetle
This species is more commonly recorded in the south of Britain than the north.
Elaphrus riparius - An attractive, jewel-like Ground Beetle, with a distinctly southerly distribution in the UK. This is only the third record for Orkney. Pictured below.
Elateridae - Click Beetles
Gastrophysa viridula - Green Dock Beetle
Nebria brevicollis - a common Ground Beetle, sometimes called a Gazelle Beetle
* Otiorhynchus nodosus - A weevil
Otiorhynchus singularis - Clay-cloured Weevil (LJ, 3rd May 2017)
Olophrum piceum - A Rove Beetle
Philonthus laminatus - A Rove Beetle
Rhagonycha lignosa - A Soldier Beetle
This species is more commonly recorded in the south of Britain than the north.
Staphylinidae - Rove Beetles
Strophosoma melanogrammum - A weevil, widespread in Europe, reaching Orkney but not Shetland. (LJ, 9th June 2020)
A Larch Ladybird recorded in Olav's Wood
- only recently (2015) discovered in Orkney.
[L. Johnson, Sept 2015]
A jewel-like Ground Beetle (Elaphrus riparius).
Magnify the image twice to see the beautifully-
patterned elytra (wing-cases). This is the
third record for Orkney for this beetle which is
more common in southern parts of the UK.
Inhabits wet areas, especially watersides.
[L. Johnson, June 2016]
A weevil (Otiorhynchus nodosus) found
by Lee Johnson (March 2017). This is a
first record for Orkney.
Green Dock Beetle (Gastrophysa viridula)
(LJ, 29th May 2018).
Green Dock Beetle (Gastrophysa viridula)
eggs (LJ, 12th June 2018).*
Clay-coloured Weevil (Otiorhynchus singularis)
(LJ, 3rd May 2017).

* Lee Johnson comments: Possible hoverfly Parasyrphus nigritarsis egg laid on top of Green Dock Beetle eggs at Olav's Wood. The larvae feed on the eggs and larvae of the dock beetle. Not a common species and I haven't seen it at Olav's Wood before. (LJ, 12th June 2018)

4. Hemiptera (Bugs)

Anthocoris nemorum - Common Flowerbug
Cacopsylla sp. - A Jumping Plant-louse (LJ, 7th May 2017). Picture below.
Evacanthus interruptus - A black and yellow Leafhopper
Leptopterna ferrugata - A Grass Bug
Stenodema (Brachystira) calcarata - A Grass Bug
Common Flowerbug (Anthocoris nemorum)
"sorting out it wings" (LJ, 30th April 2017).
Small (3mm) Psyllid (Jumping Plant-
louse) found on hawthorn in
Olav's Wood. Cacopsylla sp.
(Possibly C. melanoneura or C. affinis)
(LJ, 7 May 2017).

5. Lepidoptera (Butterflies and moths)

See the separate butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) page.

6. Odonata (Dragonflies and damselflies)

A dragonfly was seen in Olav's Wood by Andy Mitchell (Sept 2015). Possibly Common Hawker (Aeshna juncea).

7. Psocoptera (Barklice, booklice, barkflies)

Ectopsocus petersi - A barkfly (LJ, 30th April 2017).
Graphopsocus cruciatus ? - See pictures below.
A barkfly nymph (possibly Graphopsocus cruciatus, a common species) and (second picture)
hatched barkfly eggs covered in a net of threads on the underside of a leaf in Olav's Wood.
(Record and photographs: LJ, 13th April, 2017).
Small (2mm) barkfly (male) from Olav's Wood
Ectopsocus peters. (LJ, 30th April 2017).
Female of the same species
(LJ, 30th April 2017).

8. Ephemeroptera (Mayflies)

A mayfly photographed in the woods
by Lee Johnson (10th May 2018).

Collembola - Springtails

* Dicyrtomina saundersi - A globular springtail. This is a new record for Orkney (LJ, November 2016, see the photograph below)
* Entomobrya nivalis - A common springtail, but a new record for Orkney (LJ, 13th May 2017)
Tomocerus minor - A common springtail (pictures below).
A springtail (Dicyrtomina saundersi) found
by Lee Johnson on rotting twigs and in
leaf litter near the burn in Olav's Wood.
This is a first record for Orkney and the
northernmost record in the UK for
this species. The individuals are
approx. 2mm long.
Entomobrya nivalis, a springtail. A common species but under-recorded
and a new record for Orkney (LJ, 13th May 2017).
A common springtail, Tomocerus minor, found in leaf litter under the trees at Olav's Wood. They are 4.5 mm long and covered in little
blueish scales as shown in the second picture. The top one has lost most of its scales so looks very yellow. (LJ, March 2017)

Records from Sam Ebdon (1/4/2024):
Dicyrtomina saundersi - interesting colour morphs
Entomobrya nivalis
Lepidocyrtus sp. - quite frequently
Neanura muscorum
Pogonognathellus longicornis
Tomocerus (minor?)
Sam's comments on springtails, following a visit to the woods (1st April, 2024):

For Symphypleona I saw loads of Dicyrtomina, I think all saundersii but with some interesting colour morphs. Next entomobryidomorpha: In the Tomoceridae I saw both Pogonognathellus longicornis and a Tomocerus sp., I think minor but no microscopic confirmation. There was a species of Lepidocyrtus (quite frequently) and Entomobrya nivalis. For the Poduromorpha, there was lots of small white blind species, probably Onychiuridae but could be Tullbergidae. Some of the particularly soggy bits of wood had small groups of Neanura muscorum. I didn’t manage to find any Neelipleona, but I’d be very surprised if there were no Megalothorax in the woods.

Other arthropods

Arachnida (Spiders, Mites etc)

From Lee Johnson's records (2015-19):

Araneus diadematus - Garden Spider
Araneus quadratus - Four-spot Orbweaver
Enoplognatha ovata sensu lato
* Larinioides cornutus - A Furrow Spider
Linyphiidae - Money Spiders
Lycosidae - Wolf Spiders
Metellina mengei - A Long-jawed Orbweaver (Tetragnathidae)
Metellina merianae - Shaded Orbweaver spider
Metellina segmentata sensu lat - A Long-jawed Spider (Tetragnathidae)
Microlinyphia pusilla - A Money Spider
Pardosa nigriceps - A Wolf Spider (on Hestily side of woodland)
Robertus lividus - A Comb-footed Spider (Theridiidae)
Tetragnatha extensa - A Long-jawed Orb-weaver Spider
Tibellus possibly T. oblongus - rarely recorded in Orkney (April 2018, see below)
Leiobunum rotundum
Paroligolophus agrestis
A Damaeidae mite - see pictures below
Mesostigmata sp.- A Mite

In May 2015, Lee Johnson recorded the furrow spider Larinioides cornutus in the woods (photograph below). This has been confirmed by Edward Milner as a first record for Orkney.

A furrow spider (Larinioides cornutus) in
Olav's Wood - a first record for Orkney.
[L. Johnson, May 2015]
A 'Long-jawed Spider'(Metellina merianae)
in the conifers of Helen's Wood.
[L. Johnson, 2015]
Tibellus (possibly oblongus) in Olav's Wood.
[L. Johnson, April 2018]
A Shaded Orbweaver spider (Metellina merianae)
in Olav's Wood.
[L. Johnson, April 2018]
This is a Damaeidae mite from leaf litter
in Olav's Wood. It is shown next to the end of
a pin as a size comparison. (LJ, March, 2017)


From Lee Johnson's records (2015):

Oniscus asellus - Common Woodlouse


From Lee Johnson's records (Spring 2015):

Limacus maculatus - Green Cellar/Irish Yellow Slug

Flatworms (Platyhelminthes)

From Lee Johnson's records (Spring 2015):
Arthurdendyus triangulatus - New Zealand Flatworm

Trees and shrubs


Birds and animals

Butterflies and moths



Fauna of the burn

Other wildlife