Working with NBN Trust Honorary Member, Professor Helen Roy MBE, the Royal Mail has developed a set of stamps celebrating the diversity, intrigue and importance of pollinating insects in the UK.
These include not just bees and butterflies – but other often overlooked important pollinators including moths, beetles, hoverflies and wasps.
The six stamps, beautifully illustrated by renowned wildlife artist Richard Lewington, are:
Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum)
Depicted on large blue pea flower. One of the 24 species of bumblebee that live in the UK, this ginger-coloured bee can be found in many different habitats including gardens.
Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)
Depicted on thistle. This migratory butterfly travels vast distances from the Middle East and Central Asia before arriving in the UK during the summer months.
Longhorn Beetle (Rutpela maculata)
Depicted on flowering hawthorn. This species lives for several years in its larval stage feeding on decaying wood, finally emerging as the striking, wasp-mimicking adult illustrated on the stamp to live for between two and four weeks.
Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor)
Depicted on honeysuckle. More than 2500 species of moth have been recorded in the UK. The elephant hawk-moth’s pink and green wings span 45-60mm.
Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus)
Depicted on oilseed rape. In the UK there are more than 280 species of hoverfly. Favouring flat-topped flowers to land and fed on, it is commonly seen in gardens and is an important pollinator of crops.
Ruby-tailed Wasp (Chrysis ignita agg.)
Depicted on angelica. While the adult ruby-tailed wasp feeds on the nectar of flowers, the young larvae eat the eggs and larvae of other insect species.
To buy these ‘Brilliant Bugs’ stamps and related items, please visit: www.royalmail.com/brilliantbugs