Friday, May 24, 2013

Time for a quick update.

Due to being stupidly busy at work & even busier at home time spent on the square has been limited – though not as limited as time spent identifying, I’m going to have to buy some more pots at this rate as the backlog builds...

This has meant no time to blog some updates but as it’s miserable outside this lunchtime I’ve put together a highlight reel.

Headline – now past 300, 302 currently but I’m back to the microscope in a bit. Since my last update I’ve added 24 lifers taking my pan-taxa total to 2013 The 2,000th being Tetragnatha extensa.


The Bird Cherry-Oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi) is infesting the bird cherry near the car park – look out for curled over leaves full of grey aphids.

Phyllaphis fagi can be found in the flower heads of Beech, a waxy aphid it is pretty unmistakeable – ring cornicles rather than the more usual ‘exhaust pipes’ and striping on the abdomen (wipe away the wax to see this).

I found Anoecia vagans on Dogwood being tended by Lasius fuliginosus (three square ticks in one!), this was surprising as A. corni is the more common species but the latter has a black patch on the back absent in A. vagans. (Be careful as two rarer species also have black backs).

The potato aphid Macrosiphum euphorbae & the Rose-grain aphid Metapolophium dirhodum turned up in the suction trap catches last week – time to start checking the allotments on your squares. M. euphorbae is a largish green aphid found on potatoes (the other common potato species are the smaller, darker peach-potato aphid Myzus persicae and the glasshouse potato aphid Aulacorthum solani which has dark tips to the cornicles).

Other insects:

Culicoides midges are turning up in the light trap samples. Annoyingly the obtusus group are inseperable in the females which is all I’ve had so far though I suspect C. obtusus & C. chiopterus have been caught, C. pulicaris & C. punctatus are readily identifiable from wing pattern so that’s two more for the square.

My micromoth list is increasing rapidly (thanks Sterling & Parsons – I saw Mark yesterday & completely forgot to thank him in person so if you’re reading this after your long drive to & from Mark, thanks!) with five new species from the square.

Thanks also to Dave Hubble for checking two leaf beetles from earlier in the year. Crepidodera plutus was pretty straightforward if you have his published key (I haven’t yet, making do with the test key – though I will get it soon). Psylliodes chrysocephala var. anglica being more tricky as it wasn’t the typical blue, more a yellow-brown colour.

On the beetle front I’ve also got a female Byrrhus awaiting my tracking down of a copy of Johnson’s key, it’s probably pilula but best to check – this would be a family tick.

Finally the oak trees on the square seem to be pretty hard-hit by leaf galls of the gall wasp Andricus curvator at the moment.


Onwards & upwards, now back to the microscope, a conservative estimate I’ve got another 30 species in there at least, most of which I should be able to key out...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Chris - loads of interesting things to look out for here! Fingers crossed for a decent bank holiday weekend here...