Monday, January 21, 2013

More critters from TQ2897

I snuck out to the patch for the last 2 or 3 hours of daylight on Sunday 13th, hoping to catch a bit more bird movement and the possibility of tawny owl. It was pretty cold (it snowed that night) and there wasn’t an awful lot of movement going on. Bird-wise I added Tufted Duck, Kestrel, Redwing and Green Woodpecker to the list. Teasel, Cow Parsley and Birch Polypore were also added. I had a bash at IDing a couple of small ferns but the light was poor and the plants a bit ragged. I’ll come back to them in better light sometime. I mainly contented myself with rolling logs, picking bits of bark of old stumps and breaking up small amounts of rotten wood. The haul from this was as follows:

Pressed into a crevice on a larch was an Orange Ladybird. Under a fallen birch branch I found Porcellio scaber, Trichoniscus pusillus/provisorius and a geophilid centipede which I’ve not found online resources for. In various birch stumps I managed to find a darkling beetle, Nalassus laevioctostriatus; a bunch of small myrmicene ants, Temnothorax nylanderi; and a small species of wood-boring weevil: Pentarthrum huttoni (I'm guessing this species is just under-recorded as opposed to being particularly scarce?) Euophryum confine. From under an oak log came a common millipede with white legs, Tachypodoiulus niger, and a large-ish springtail, Orchesella villosa.

I didn't get up to much this weekend thanks to snow and man-flu but I did manage to add Buzzard to my square's list. We also had a woodcock in our apartment block's tiny garden; shame it's not within the square!

I'm currently on 77 species and wondering whether it's fair to tick practically impossible aggregates like T. pusillius/provisorius and Melanotus castanipes/villosus.


  1. Rob,
    Pentarthrum huttoni is genuinely rare in Britain (I've never seen it). But there is a similar species called Euophryum confine that is exceedingly common in just about any dead wood anywhere. Anyone using Joy (1932) would end up identifying E. confine as P. huttoni because E. confine only arrived from Aus/NZ in mid-1900s.
    Strictly speaking, you should use the RES weevil handbook to rule out other contenders such as E. rufum but the probability is that you've found E. confine.

  2. I used the RES handbook. IIRC it had a five segmented funiculus which I think helps separate it from Euophryum species. I'll run it through the key again this evening and scrutinise each step, perhaps I made some more fundamental cock-up. I'll see if I can get some photos down the 'scope too.

  3. Yep, it was a general failure to read the key properly: the first step of the key to the Cossoninae led me to Pentarthrini and I appear to have just stepped from there to Pentarthrum somehow. It's definitely Euophryum and 90% sure it's E. confine. A pic as promised, the raised elytral ridge that makes the rear end a bit "explanate" is (sorta) visible :

  4. Rob,
    For separation of rufum and confine, see:
    - there's an angle on the lower edge of the rostrum in rufum, behind the insertion of the antennae; no angle in confine.