Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Three Wildlife Challenges

One of the joys of living here is that we're always coming across something new - witness the sudden flurry of white heathers - and, very often, not easily identified.  So here are some more challenges.

Kilchoan Early Bird has sent in this picture of something washed up on the beach - the scale is shown by the limpet shell to its left.  Does anyone know what it is?

This picture, kindly sent by Martin Summers, shows the nest of a small fish called a corkwing wrasse.  It's made of coral weed.  This photo isn't from West Ardnamurchan, but Martin says we should find them around here.

And here's another challenge from Martin.  It's an oil beetle which he found in the upper area of Trevor Pott's Ardnamurchan Campsite.  Apparently they are not common but have, as Martin put it, a 'great life history'.  The 'great' bit seems to come from the way the beetle's larvae hitch a lift from a passing bee and, once in its nest, consuming the bee's eggs and pollen supply.  We have yet to find one.  There's more about these friendly beetles here.

Many thanks to Kilchona Early Bird and Martin Summers for the pictures.


  1. The first one is a Velella, or By the Wind Sailor. The one in the picture has dried out a bit but when they are alive they are an impressive blue colour.

  2. It looks like the case of an dead Velella which are normally float on the surface of the sea and are propelled by the wind with there sail like feature

  3. Many thanks for the identification. I was fairly sure I had seen something like this on tropical beaches, but never here on Ardnamurchan. Has anyone seen one here before? Jon

  4. I asked Kilchoan Early Bird whether he had seen By the Wind Sailors here before and he says he had, after a gale. Jon