21 December 2013

Winter Gnats, or Christmas Angels?

Have you ever tried photographing gnats? Impossible!

The swarms of little flies dancing over your lawn at this time of year are the aptly named Winter Gnats (of the Trichoceridae family).

The swarms are made of male gnats stretching their wings, having some fun with the boys, before they pair up with a female and sneak away from the group to mate.

Luckily for me, as I stood around trying to photograph the little blighters, the males don't bite. It's the females who suck your blood, because they need the extra energy for egg laying.

The eggs are laid on decaying wood and the larvae feed on decaying matter - Ha! plenty of that in Garden65. It's worth noting (if you're at all interested in garden invertebrates) that the wiggly larvae in ponds are mosquito larvae.

Here's a short spooky film I've cobbled together:

The music is from John Dowland's 'Lachrimae', composed in 1604. I guess 'lachrimae' has something to do with tears (lachrymose).

And though the title doth promise teares, unfit guests in these ioyfull times, yet no doubt pleasant are the teares which Musicke weepes, neither are teares shed alwayes in sorrow, but sometime in ioy and gladnesse.

Happy Christmas Everyone   Jx