Monday, April 17, 2017

The benefits of a collection

In a recent post I was struggling with some comparative features of a Xantholinus rove beetle. From the keys it seemed like gallicus was the best fit but as I had limited-to-zero experience with that genus, I took the specimen down to the NHM when I visited earlier this month for the weevil workshop.

Max Barclay kindly got out the examples from the NHM's British collection of that genus and once I had them all lined up it was clear that my specimen was a linearis the most regularly encountered member of the genus.

The NHM's British specimens of Xantholinus
gallicus. These looked distinctly different to my specimen,

This reinforced the importance of being able to compare things to a well curated reference collection as many of these features only become clear when you can compare 100s of individuals side by side. Later in the day this was even more relevant as we looked at Sitona weevils!!

I also had a look at a few light-trapped Amara that I have kept hold of and compared them to similar species in the NHM collection.. I think they are consularis but this genus seems particularly subjective so I'll hang on for further specimens to compare to!

A selection of Amara

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