Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Half way there

Counting down the last dozen new species that I need for 1000 in the year:

12. Agapanthia villosoviridescens. A cracking longhorn beetle that I found in July at Mitcham Common. It is fairly common, the larvae feeding in the stems of thistles, Hogweed, etc.

11. Pseudovadonia livida. Another longhorn, caught in July near the crossing to the Isle of Sheppey. The larvae are said to feed in the soil of grassland infested with the Fairy-ring Fungus.

 10. Anaglyptus mysticus. Another longhorn, this one being Nationally Scarce. The larvae feed in dry dead wood of deciduous trees. I found this at Odiham Common in June whilst looking to see if the Forester moths had emerged.

9. Coleophora trochilella. A Nationally Scarce micro-moth whose larvae feed on various Compositae from within a case. A female was caught in July at Sandwich Bay but I've only just dissected it.

Photo: www.lepiforum.de
8. Chionodes distinctella. Another Nationally Scarce micro-moth, the larvae of which seem to be unknown. The moth seems to be found mainly on coastal grassland and in the Brecks. This was caught at light at West Wittering back in July and was one of two identical-looking featureless brown moths that I brought back for dissection. Contrary to expectations the other specimen was a different species, the very common Bryotropha terrella. Presumably the specific name was ironic.

Photo: www.gelechiid.co.uk
7. Badister bullatus. A fairly common ground beetle that I found at West Dean back in June.

Away from the microscope I've managed to spend a few hours in the field but without finding anything new. I spent a few hours in the New Forest, seeing some good birds including Firecrest, a flock of Brambling and, best of all, two Merlins mobbing a Raven - the size difference was amazing. I did find a distinctive-looking lichen which I brought back but it turned out to be Usnea florida which I've seen before. No idea what the other species is!

Last night I went to Shortheath Common to count the Fieldfare roost. It was an easy count - two, but there were at least 47 Snipe roosting on the bog. An attractive moss caught my eye but it proved to be Polytrichum juniperinum. Mixed in the sample I brought home was some Campylopus introflexus but I've seen both of these before. Five more days to get the final six species.

Polytrichum juniperinum

No comments:

Post a Comment