Back in May 2018, I was away with the family on a short break in coastal Suffolk. One of our favourite walks, especially when the kids were small and so weren't up for one of the longer walks we take them on now, is a loop from Walberswick through some woodland, then a cut through Dingle marshes and then finishing along the shingle. There's a good mix of habitat and there's always a good chance of seeing an Adder to get the boys excited.
On this particular day we got to the shingle bank overlooking the sea and stopped for some lunch. Whilst the kids practiced their stone-throwing aim with a game of hit the pile of stones, I went down to the landward side of the bank to have a poke around in some of the degraded saltmarsh and brackish pools.
There were quite a few hydrophilid beetles feeding around the muddy edges of the largest pool, mainly around the margins but also diving to a depth of a few centimetres. I potted a couple of individuals and took them away for later identification. The specimens sat in my fridge until August this year. Under the microscope they keyed easily to Paracymus aeneus aka the enigmatically named the Bembridge Beetle.
But when I looked at distribution maps online it was evident that these were a fair way from previous records which all centered around south coastal Essex, with a single sub-fossil record from the Humber Estuary from under a Bronze Age boat. It turns out that this beetle gets its common name from the town of Bembridge on the Isle of Wight where it was first discovered.
I posted the images on the Beetles of Britain and Ireland Facebook page and quickly got confirmation of the identification from Garth Foster who also informed me that it was the first record for Suffolk. Garth also I suggested I write a short note for the Coleopterist.
Fast forward to yesterday and the latest issue landed on my doorstep, my short note on the Bembridge Beetle included and my first public pronunciation on beetles. Hopefully more to come.
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