The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
TERRESTRIAL INVERTEBRATES- INSECTSWater beetle Lancetes falklandicus- photo Robert Maddocks


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Queen of the Falklands Fritillary- Yramea cytheris

The only resident brush-footed butterfly in the islands. This is a Falklands race or sub- species of a similar butterfly found in Southern South America. It's caterpillar's food is very likely the native yellow violet Viola Maculata.

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There are at least 90 species of beetles found in the Falkland Islands and at least 15 species of ground beetle. They are widespread across the islands.The Metallic beetle Metius blandus is an important prey species of the Pied Oystercatcher. It is usually found under clumps of Diddle-dee, ferns or stones.  


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Water Beetle Lancetes falklandicus

Water beetles are common in Falklands freshwater ponds. They are easily identified as they are an oval shape with no 'waist'. Air is carried under the shell of the elytra, on its back, allowing it to dive like a scuba diver. There are several native species in the Falklands, all are carnivorous feeding on smaller invertebrates. Adults can survive on dry land but their larvae, also voracious predators are purely aquatic.

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    Camel cricket -photograph by Robert Maddocks
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    Camel cricket -photograph by Robert Maddocks
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    Camel cricket -photograph by Robert Maddocks

Camel Cricket Parudenus falklandicus

Camel crickets are large with bodies often over 20mm in length. They are wingless with long antennae and legs of a similar length. Night feeders, they are omnivorous but prefer animal food particularly beetle larvae. Widely distributed over the islands in areas which offer dense cover; tussac islands are important habitats where they live amongst the tussac bog skirts and tussac litter. They are themselves an important food for small passerine birds. 

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Falklands Green Spider Molinaranea magellanica, (Araneus cinnabarinus)

This species of orb-weaver spider is endemic to the Falkland Islands, Chile, Argentina and the Juan Fernandez Islands. They were once very common on the Falklands but are much harder to find in the now. Their colour varies depending on their habitat; residents of gorse bushes have bright green abdomens with the distinctive buff stripe. They are often found on thick stands of Blechnum fern, Hebe and in settlements like Gorse bushes and Veronica. They are passive predators sitting waiting for flies and moths to catch in their web. Females spin cocoons for their eggs in January and young spiders emerge in spring. Juveniles are reddish-brown but after they moult they gradually to change to green.


Can you add/ correct any information or supply any photographs, past or present?
Sources include: (A Field Guide Wildlife of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia - Ian J Strange) Insects of the Falkland Islands- Alexander G Jones (Falklands Conservation Book)
Photographic credits: Robert Maddocks, Ian Barnes, Marlane & Ali Marsh