The start of May and less than 70 to go, I can feel this is going to be the month. A few dodgy ID’s are the case for today with an uneventful moth trap and a crab spider thrown in for good measure.
This post is powered by Jean Sibelius, I always start with Andante Festivo.
Bourne South Fen, 01/05/2015
Micropeplus fulvus – 932. A very small beetle that got me and JL excited when I found it on hiding in number 933 on the list, a cup fungi Peziza vesiculosa. It stood out when I managed to get it to hold still. Briefly peering at it look through the eye glass, the ridges all along it became apparent. This little beetle made a fool of me…
Keying it out late that night (the excuses start), I miss counted the ridges on the pronotum leading me into a bit of excitement. While I’m happy to admit I made a mistake, I’m not divulging which species it took me to! I emailed the Lincs Ento Group email address with a photo and my id attached. The county recorder emailed me back, quite swiftly I’ll add at such a late hour, pointing out my error. Lesson learnt, don’t stay up peering down a microscope cus it isn’t going to be right! This species hasn’t been recorded for a few years, possibly due to its small size. I think I saw a second but I can’t be sure as it dropped of before capture for inspection.
P. vesiculosa – 933. Odd thing, cup-shaped and growing on a wood-chip pile. Besides having the tiny rove inside and the odd slug, nothing much else was found on or in it.
Nicrophorus humator, black sexton beetle – 935. What a disgusting beetle… to some people but not me. JL could not believe I went in with a pot for it as it bumbled about on the dead badger. I wanted a photo and I wasn’t going to hang around that horrid smell all day trying to get one. With jumper tied around the face, I went in and scooped it up before retreating. I remembered this time not to sniff the beetle (see here). It was covered in mites, all hurtling around on its underside, topside, all the sides, at least 30-40 and that’s a conservative estimate. I snapped a few shots before popping it back in the pot and returning it to its carcass.
Since writing posting the above two beetles on the facebook beetle page I came unstuck again. It turns out that what I though was N. humator is in fact Necrodes littoralis. The two are easily mixed up I have reliably been informed, since googling both I can see how it can be done. N. humator has a clubbed antenna where as N. littoralis doesn’t.
Two beetles and both I messed up identifying but, that’s what it’s all about. I know next time I come across either of these I’ll have the knowledge to get it right first time around. Identification can be a struggle sometimes but if it was easy, everyone would do it and you can be sure it wouldn’t be so appealing. It won’t be the last thing I get wrong, and like this one I’ll take them on the chin too.
Bourne South Fen, 30/04/2015
Creophilus maxillosus – 934. I thought I had this on the list already but it seems not. A big distinctive rove that stands out. It can be found anywhere around decay, this one was underneath the dead badger. When I popped it out in the poly tunnel to photograph I noticed it curl up and play dead for a minute or more before righting itself. I was expecting it to dash of and to struggle photographing it but it moved more like a jumping spider, really robotic and jerky.
It got me thinking when I dropped this of outside the poly tunnel. Would it go right back to the badger, roughly 100m or so away? Could I mark it without harm and see if it returns? How far away could I take it from the badger before it didn’t come back? Just a few thoughts. It wouldn’t be a very attractive study, digging about in dead animals for a marked rove – if you could mark them without harm. I saw a similar thing on a television program with Dr S. Benyon where she attached tiny devices to some quite large African carrion beetles. They were taken away from a decaying hippo if I remember rightly, and then the data downloaded to track the progress back to the carcass.
Moth Trap, Nottingham City Center 03/05/2015
A shuttle shaped dart and a cabbage moth, one of each adding up to a massive two moths caught. Looks like it will be a few more days yet before putting it back on with these high winds and low temps.
Brackenhurst Estate, 04/05/2015
Trichoniscus pusillus agg., pygmy woodlouse – 936. A woodpile in the woodland at the bottom boundary of the campus looked like a good place to do some sieving. Periodically I take the sieve kit out with me, it is helpful for getting things out of fungi, leaf litter and twigs etc. Taking a good handful, I sieve some loose wood and leaf litter from the side of the pile. With what came out I then ran it through a smaller sieve which produced at least 10 of these little woodlice. These are extremely common and recorded across the county, I would bet these are often overlooked by many people.
Xysticus cristatus, a crab spider – 937. Sweeping along one of the lanes turned up a quite distinctively marked spider… or so I thought anyway. Enough to think it might be identifiable from a photo back at Ponk HQ that evening. Turns out it was! Checking Eakring (link here) it looks although its widely recorded in the county. Not bad as far as spiders go, I am quite fond of the crab spiders.
Pterostichus madidus, a ground beetle – 938. Maybe one of the easiest ground beetles to ID, right up there with Loricera pilicornis which keys out first in Luff. P. madidus has slipped through the net until now. It’s large size along with the shape of the pronotum should make recognising this in the field easy. This one was found under some wood in a deadwood pile.
All I ask for now is that the weather cheers up and gives me some warm, overcast nights so the moth trap can get back on. Now, how many mistakes have made with in this post…
Ponk on (but better than I have been doing the past few days)