Thursday, June 22, 2017

A first and second for the garden

Last night's overnight temperature didn't dip below 20 degrees so I put the MV moth trap. I was greeted at 4am to a sizeable haul of moths, many of which did a bunk as soon as I opened the trap. Such is the downside of warm nights.

300 moths of 70+ species but in amongst the usual suspects was the first Golden Plusia Polychrysia moneta for the garden and the second and third records of Lunar-spotted Pinion Cosmia pyralina.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A quick jaunt to the Gower

What seems like an age ago now but was in fact only a month past, the family and I managed a long weekend on the Gower peninsula.

I had not been to south Wales since an undergraduate field course to Pembrokeshire in 1995 so a return trip has been long over due.

My wife had work commitments in Swansea so we met up with her, picked her up and carried on to a cottage that we'd booked on Air B'n'B.

My main target for the weekend was to see the strandline beetle Eurynebria complanata. This is found on either side of the Bristol channel and during the day lives under tideline debris like drift wood and more recently, bits of plastic.

With a bit of gen from the Pan Listing Facebook group, we spent most of the first day visiting Whiteford sands. The weather was sunny but with a cool wind but basically absolutely gorgeous.

There was no one else around and we only saw 2 or 3 other people all day. We dumped our bags on the edge of the dunes and then started searching.

We quickly found a couple of Broscus cephalotes under a piece of wood. Interestingly these were the only ones we saw.  There were also plenty of staphs and what appeared to be Aphodius spp. too.

After about 10 mins we turned a log and were greeted with this sight.

In total we saw about 50 Eurynebria along a mile stretch of beach, under many of the bits of debris that were up near the high tide mark.

We also saw plenty of Dune Tiger beetles. What I noticed is that the sand has to be firmer with a higher number of small pebbles embedded for this species to occur. It's similar in Norfolk too. You can be wandering about looking for them in what seems like good habitat and you don't see any, but it just takes a small change in the substrate and suddenly they are everywhere.

There were loads of other goodies too. Some of which I'm still identifying.....

Onthophagus nuchicornis

Harpalus neglectus (left) and tarda (right)

Underside of Harpalus neglectus

Dicheirotrichus gustavii

Aphodius (Liothorax) plagiatus

Aegialia arenaria 

Cafius sp. (still not quite sure which!)

Pogunus chalceus

All in all everyone had a good day out and the weather held. I really want to get back for another visit to that part of the world ASAP!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Jewel in the ....


A new family of beetle for me today, Buprestidae. The Jewel Beetles. A colleague noticed some of these beetles on a honeysuckle bush (correction: apparently snowberry) and took one for checking.
Turns out they are Agrilus cyanescens, an introduced species, I think from North America but do correct me if I'm wrong.

There were a fair few of these sat on leaves or flying around the honeysuckle this lunchtime. Very bluish when the sun hits their metallic exoskeleton.
Not too many records from the UK that I can see but apparently spreading quickly.
Despite being an alien they were rather lovely........