BBC Wildlife Magazine
SPECIES TO LOOK OUT FOR
This insectivorous plant has a purple flower, which appears on a single stalk between May and July, but its basal rosette of leaves is arguably more obvious, as they’re bright yellow-green and remarkably starfishlike. The leaves are covered in a sticky fluid that attracts unsuspecting insects, slowly curling around their prey before digesting it.
Spikes of sulphur-yellow, star-like asphodel flowers brighten up peat bogs in early summer, before turning a distinctive shade of deep orange in autumn. Once, the plant was known as the ‘bone breaker’, because it was thought that livestock grazing on it developed brittle bones; however, calcium-poor pastures were the issue.
Despite the odd name, this specialist butterfly is at home in bogs, not heathland. It has three forms found in different
parts of Britain. The largest population is confined to the bogs of northern and western Britain, and flies from late June to early August. As it rests with wings closed, the elusive insect’s upperwing pattern is revealed only in flight.
On the wing from late May to mid-July, this dashing darter has a distinctive white face in the male, which provides a bold contrast with the black-and-red thorax and abdomen. The species is restricted to peaty pools in the Scottish Highlands and a few English outposts, where you might spot the males holding territory or basking on sunny days.
Widespread throughout the bogs of northern and western Britain, the common hawker is a large, fast and powerful dragonfly, happiest on the wing. The male’s abdomen has paired blue spots – those of the less-conspicuous female are yellow. Adults start to emerge in early July, and can be recorded right up to the first frosts of autumn.