John Tyler. “Life in a Nutshell” November 2014


A zoologist by training, but having spent most of his life (so far!) in nature conservation, John Tyler is in the ideal profession to take photos and to show us some beautiful slides of natural history in miniature.


He made a dramatic start with a close up of the humble adult vine weevil. Hated by gardeners, as the little blighters grubs eat the roots of your pot plants and the adults eat at the leaf margins but so beautiful when seen through the macro lens of Johns camera.

He showed us a close up of a silver fish, that tiny bug that you may see in your bathroom as they love damp places. Apparently, John told us, they love to feed on the glue that cornflake boxes are stuck together with. Mmm, maybe I should change to musli.


He said that the top of a fence post is a great place to see bugs as maybe they climb up the post thinking it is a tree and when they get to the top of the post they have to stop to work out what happened. Springtails especially seem to congregate here and have the strangest hairy bottom. Some of the colours of these tiny insects is truly amazing with coloured bodies and rainbow eyes.


He then went on to show us tiny things that we might see in woodlands such as parachute mushrooms that are very aptly named as they have little white parachute tops with black stems, eyelash fungus that has a red centre and indeed has eyelashes all the way around, and slime mould that is more closely related to us than fungus is. Some amazing facts were imparted to us.


Next was grassland with amongst other things, pictures of a beautiful fluffy great white plume moth and some beautiful caterpillars, and an excellent photo of the beautiful eye pattern on the wing of a moth that has even mimicked the reflection of light that would be seen in the eye.


There was so much more and it was an excellent evening with much humour and very interesting to see, up close, some of the things you never even knew where there.




Pam Cotton.

Photos by, and with thanks to, John Tyler.