April 2014

An accidental gripper

On my trip to Rannoch in March I spent a bit of time looking for beetles, including Bolitophagus reticulatus in the bracket fungus Fromes. I found some https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=440326762777712&set=a.119013194909072.29176.100004011776825&type=1&theater but also noticed some little Ciidae so i took the sample of fromes home. The Ciidae proved to be Ropalodontus perforatus, so that's 2 RDB3 species from a couple of brackets on...

Garden mothing



Most of my moth trapping has taken place in my own garden, over the last 4 years or so. Catches have been pretty rubbish so far this year, but the garden list is up to 766 species of macro and micromoth.

Other inverts often come to the light too and this is one of my favourites - the mighty Ledra aurita. One of the biggest and most spectacular Leafhoppers in the UK, it is thin on the ground and always a great species to see. There is a narrow belt of oaks down the road from the...

Recording in Cheshire

Just spent an hour sweeping at Moore Nature Reserve near Warrington.  Plenty of life emerging now that the weather is warming, early sawflies are about, found Deporaus betulae and Neoascia podagrica.  An unfamiliar beetle swept from dried Phragmites proved to be Kateretes pusillus which I had not seen before.  If you haven't seen the Alder leaf beetle Agelastica alni yet, and are visiting Cheshire, now is the time to look, as there are literally thousands of adults, already stripping young alders.

Besthorpe Inverts, Notts

On a quiet afternoon at work, I managed to slip away for an hour to do some invert hunting at the excellent Besthorpe Nature Reserve on the side of the Trent. The converted gravel pits here mean a high diversity of habitats, but as is so often the case it was hard to get more than a few metres from the car. 

Sweeping the extensive patches of White Dead-nettles along the river produced large numbers of both Pied Shieldbugs (the cutest shieldbug going?) and the dazzling leaf beetle Chrysolina fastuosa. These really are spectacular, with emerald green, sapphire blue and ruby red elytra...

19th April 2014 - Where is everything?

After last night's 0340 beer-fuelled bedtime we started a bit late and hit Par beach again. We followed the tide out as it receded to its lowest point and started digging. The wind was gusting and Dan's daughter had fun chasing her plastic bucket across the extensive sandflats and generally getting messy and wet in the process. We dug for the elusive Masked Crab, again without a sniff of success although we buried a dead one with just the tips of the antennae showing so we knew exactly what to look out for. We found a Snakelocks Anemone and Dan asked if I was going to tick the symbiont...

An armchair endemic tick!

Well i will try out this blogging thing with a very nice armchair tick. Last year when helping Libby Houston, local Sorbus expert, with a bit of surveying, she showed me an undescribed Sorbus on the cliffs near the Observatory. Well I recieved news from John Martin yesterday that it has been described - Sorbus spectans. Now I want to insert a photo here but cant seem to do so? Anyone help here?

18th April 2014 - Sand Crocus...in Cornwall !!!

Our plan of attack today was to hit Sand Crocus at it's second British site. Dawlish Warren is just too passé, lol. We headed off and soon realised we had good gen from the carpark - we just weren't sure which carpark we should start from! Dan phoned a botanist contact, we re-orientated ourselves and set off to the correct carpark and finally we were off! Dan's two year old daughter kept us amused as she roly-polyed her way down the steep slope in only a slightly controlled fashion, evil buggers that we are :) Eventually she wore herself out and we headed for the...

17th April 2014 - Sally's Silly Psyllids!

Today Dan and I went down to Penzance to meet up with fellow PSLer Sally Luker. Sally is doing a PhD on non-native bugs found on non-native plants and how they may be interacting with native bugs and potentially outcompeting them or spreading pathogens. Her chosen specialities are aphids, psyllids, psocids and scales (well someone has to show an interest in 'em, lol) Anyway, during her adventures she's found some goodies including one new to Britain. Our first target species was a very local psocid, one which just happens to live on a headstone in Sally's local churchyard. Naturally, we...