Seaford Head bioblitz

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 14 July 2019 09:27

OK so I am trying not to work at weekends anymore but if I don't get this done now it will drift. I spent a good few hours processing the specimens from the bioblitz yesterday so can now publish the full list that I produced yesterday. I recorded solidly for six hours from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm and was helped in the afternoon session by Sam and Glenn. In all we recorded 362 species and 37 of these were new to the site. One of these was new to the reserve network. The proportion of invertebrates with conservation status rose slightly from 12.3 to 12.4%, firmly cemented the site as a great site for invertebrates. Now, I'm going to start with the highlight and then go through the list. 

With about an hour left, Glenn and I were in Hope Gap. I was poking around near the cliff edge (keeping a safe distance I would add) looking for Henbane. Glenn was sweeping Viper's Bugloss on the other side of the valley looking for a scarce weevil - with my net. So when I spotted what had to be a species of Marbled I was feeling a little lost without it. Fortunately it only flew about 30 cm after each bungled attempt to get it in a pot. This did at least mean I had a good chance to get a photo. I finally got it in custody where I initially identified it as Small Marbled until I got home. I think it's too big for this with a wing length of over 9 mm, I am now convinced this is Purple Marbled f. catharmi. In this form the purple colour is replaced by an almost entirely white moth. It was hanging around a big patch of thistles, which also adds up. Colin Pratt just confirmed this ID. My purple patch  continues! Kind of. 

Colin Pratt just told me that less than a dozen have ever been recorded in Sussex and I think it could well be the first one that has ever been caught in Sussex that wasn't in a moth trap or at sugar. So significantly scarcer than the Small Marbled. Awesome!!!

I might as well do the moths while I am here. We recorded 20 species and three were new to the reserve. Crescent Plume was also recorded by suction sampling a single patch of Rest-harrow which produced a mass of Rest-harrow feeding specialists. See the bug section. We also recorded two of the S41 Forester moths. Pleased with the shots of this male, you can see the antennae detail that splits it from Cistus Forester here. That and there is no Common Rock-rose on this area (Forester feeds on Common Sorrel).

Now for the remaining orders in no particular order. Two ants, nothing new there. Only six bees on this very well recorded bee site. Amazingly I did manage a new species in the form of a Wool Carder Bee in Hope Gap!

As for the beetles, 38 species in all with five new species. Podagrica fuscicornis and Orthochaetes setiger were new site records. well Glenn did get a couple of the impressive weevil Mogulones geographicus off the Viper's Bugloss but it took some work!

I picked up Cassida nobilis (known from the site) using the suction sampler on the tiny saltmarsh,

Birds. A mere 20 species. Highlights were a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Reed Warbler in sub-song in Hope Bottom!

Bugs. The most species-rich invert taxa this time with 44 species, a whopping nine of these were new to the site and one of these was new to the reserve network, that is never before seen on an Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve. This is the Nb Drymus latus. Suction-sampling that big patch of Restharrow that I found Berytinus clavipes on last year produced five species in the final five minutes that all feed on Restharrow that we hadn't seen all day.

Butterflies, 15 species. Three crustaceans, one earwig, one harvestman and one lacewing. Nothing exciting there.

Fifteen flies including the nationally scarce Machimus rusticus new to the site. I did find several of the massive Saltmarsh Horsefly Atylotus laistriatus on the saltmarsh again.

Mammals. Human, Rabbit and Fox. All recorded by their droppings. Oops, I meant just the latter two!

Mites. Three species in the genus Aceria. Aceria sanguisorba galling Salad Burnet was a new site record.

Six species of molluscs but nothing new. Two springtails with one new (bt very common) species.

Orthoptera were well represented with seven of the nine species ever recorded on the sote being recorded yesterday. Including this huge Great Green Bush-cricket that Glenn found.

And the plants. A total of 151 species were recorded and amazingly I picked up quite a few species new to the site. Highlights were Lesser Centaury.

But the huge patch of Hard-grass that has appeared on the saltmarsh was a real surprise. I can't believe that this has been overlooked. The whole of the saltmarsh looks completely different now but is looking good now that the EA are not dumping shingle on it anymore. It's recovering well with Yellow Horned-poppy and Sticky Groundsell (new to site) growing on the shingle. The saltmarsh itself has more Rock Sea-lavender than ever before (just sad that the amount of marsh is hugely reduced).

Last but not least the spiders. We recorded 25 species and eight of these were new to the site. The highlights was Sitticus inexpectus, a nationally scarce shingle specialist that is present on the eastern side of the river here but I have never managed to find on out bit of shingle before. It's also my 296th spider this year. Anyway, this is a great sign that this habitat is recovering after the abuse it suffered and is more evidence that absolutely no more shingle should ever be dumped here. This is an old photo from Rye Harbour by the way.

Another Diopena prona in the suction sampler made for a very happy Glenn. The third male I have recorded from this bank now.

And a nice male Xysticus erraticus new to the site.

So a really useful exercise. I do love a good bioblitz. Even on well recorded sites it typically produces about 10% of species new to the site. Yesterday we recorded 21% of everything that has ever been recorded at Seaford Head in a six hour period. Here is the full list with order in which it was seen and year of last record. Clearly grasses have been a bit under-recorded at the site. M=microscope ID, N=New to site and NN=new to network. I also recorded the time at each multiple of 50. Species with conservation in bold. Apologies for any typos, I did write this up very quickly last night. Enjoy!

Order Species No. Last
Ants Lasius alineus 296 2016
Ants Lasius niger 57 2016
Bees Andrena flavipes M 2016
Bees Anthophora bimaculata 68 2018
Bees Bombus lapidarius 4 2018
Bees Bombus pascuorum 304 2018
Bees Honey Bee 30 2016
Bees Wool Carder-bee 276 N
Beetles 11-spot Ladybird 63 2016
Beetles 14-spot Ladybird 62 2018
Beetles 16-spot Ladybird 58 2016
Beetles 22-spot Ladybird 188 2018
Beetles 24-spot Ladybird 48 2016
Beetles 7-spot Ladybird 107 2016
Beetles Altica oleracea 291 2016
Beetles Anthonomus rubi 191 2001
Beetles Cassida nobilis 219 2016
Beetles Cassida vibex 151 N
Beetles Ceutorhynchus pallidactylus 311 2001
Beetles Coccidula rufa 217 2019
Beetles Cordylepherus viridis 107 2018
Beetles Corticaria crenulata 2019 2019
Beetles Crypteocephalus fulvus 222 2018
Beetles Cryptocephalus bilineatus 114 2017
Beetles Cryptocephalus moraei 175 N
Beetles Epitrix atropae 265 2018
Beetles Exapion ulicis 249 2018
Beetles Gastrophysa polygoni 72 N
Beetles Hadroplontus litura 271 2016
Beetles Harlequin Ladybird 89 2018
Beetles Lagria hirta 56 2016
Beetles Mecinus pascuorum 244 2016
Beetles Mogulones asperifolarium 294 2001
Beetles Mogulones geographicus 311 2016
Beetles Nedyus quadrimaculatus 49 2018
Beetles Neocrepidodera ferruginea 71 2001
Beetles Oedemera nobilis 42 2018
Beetles Olibrus aeneus 204 2016
Beetles Orthochaetes setiger 186 N
Beetles Oxystoma pomonae 247 2001
Beetles Phaedon tumidulus 251 2018
Beetles Podagrica fuscicornis M N
Beetles Rhagonycha fulva 6 2016
Beetles Sibinia arenariae 216 2019
Beetles Silpha atrata 286 2018
Beetles Sitona lepidus 64 N
Bird Blackbird 234 2017
Bird Blue Tit 131 2017
Bird Carrion Crow 233 2017
Bird Dunnock 120 2017
Bird Goldfinch 38 2017
Bird Great Black-backed Gull 23 2017
Bird Great Spotted Woodpecker 262 2015
Bird Great Tit 324 2017
Bird Herring Gull 232 2017
Bird Linnet 3 2017
Bird Long-tailed Tit 180 2017
Bird Magpie 22 2017
Bird Meadow Pipit 105 2017
Bird Oystercatcher 211 2017
Bird Pied Wagtail 47 2017
Bird Reed Warbler 264 2018
Bird Skylark 94 2017
Bird Stonechat 314 2018
Bird Whitethroat 33 2018
Bird Woodpigeon 86 2016
Bug Acalypta parvula 298 2018
Bug Anthocoris nemoralis M 2016
Bug Anthocoris nemorum 83 2016
Bug Aphrophora alni 203 2018
Bug Berytinus clavipes M 2018
Bug Closterotomus norwegicus 46 2018
Bug Deraeocoris ruber 162 2017
Bug Deraocrois flavilinea 205 N
Bug Dicyphus annulatus 317 2018
Bug Dock Bug 177 2018
Bug Drymus latus M NN
Bug European Chinch Bug 67 N
Bug Evacnathus interruptus 272 2017
Bug Forest Bug 65 N
Bug Gampsocoris punctipes 318 2018
Bug Gorse Shieldbug 248 2018
Bug Green Shieldbug 278 2016
Bug Heterotoma planicornis 79 N
Bug Himacerus mirmicodes 187 2016
Bug Kalama tricornis 226 2016
Bug Leptopterna dolobrata 53 2018
Bug Leptopterna ferrugata 146 2018
Bug Liocoris tripustilatus 253 2018
Bug Lygus maritimus 207 2016
Bug Lygus pratensis 161 2016
Bug Macrotylus paykulli 128 N
Bug Megaloceroea rectinicornis 45 2016
Bug Myrmus miriformis 257 2016
Bug Nabis flavomarginatus 189 2018
Bug Neophilaenus lineatus 137 2018
Bug Notostira elongata 65 2016
Bug Onctotylus viridiflavus 157 2016
Bug Peritrechus geniculatus M N
Bug Peritrechus nubilus M N
Bug Philaenus spumarius 144 2018
Bug Phytocoris varipes 176 2016
Bug Pithanus maerkelii 176 2016
Bug Plagioganthus chtysanthemi 108 2016
Bug Plagiognathus arbustorum 78 2018
Bug Polymerus unifasciatus 315 2015
Bug Stenotus binotatus 52 2016
Bug Stygnocoris fuligineus M 2016
Bug Tingis cardui 310 N
Bug Turtle Bug 113 2018
Butterfly Brown Argus 277 2018
Butterfly Comma 254 2018
Butterfly Dark-green Fritillary 322 2018
Butterfly Gatekeeper 31 2018
Butterfly Large Skipper 140 2018
Butterfly Large White 18 2017
Butterfly Marbled White 132 2016
Butterfly Meadow Brown 19 2018
Butterfly Painted Lady 220 2018
Butterfly Peacock 119 2018
Butterfly Red Admiral 227 2018
Butterfly Small Copper 273 2018
Butterfly Small Heath 152 2018
Butterfly Small Skipper 275 2017
Butterfly Small White 154 2018
Crustacean Armadilidium vulgare 176 2018
Crustacean Orhcestia gammerellus 210 2016
Crustacean Porcellio scaber 211 2018
Earwig Common Earwig 43 2018
Flies Atylotus latistriatus 221 2016
Flies Chloromyia formosa 106 2018
Flies Episyrphus balteatus 206 2016
Flies Eriotrhix rufomaculata 94 2018
Flies Eristalinus aeneus 185 2018
Flies Jappiella veronicae 259 2016
Flies Leptogaster cylindrica 41 2016
Flies Machimus atricapillus M 2016
Flies Machimus rusticus M N
Flies Nemotelus notatus M 2016
Flies Pachygaster atra M 2017
Flies Scaeva pyrastri 243 2016
Flies Sicus ferrugineus 267 2018
Flies Sphaerophora scripta 252 2016
Harvestman Paroligophus agrestis 80 2016
Lacewing Chrysoperla carnea agg. 83 2016
Mammal Human 87 2019
Mammal Rabbit 101 2018
Mammal Red Fox 302 2000
Mites Aceria echii 294 2018
Mites Aceria sanguisorba 284 N
Mites Aceria thomasi (14:47) 300 2018
Molluscs Candidula intersecta 218 2018
Molluscs Cernuella virgata 223 2019
Molluscs Cochlicella acuta 198 2018
Molluscs Cornus aspersum 222 2018
Molluscs Helicella itala 281 2018
Molluscs Pupilla muscorum 292 2016
Moth Agapeta hamana 261 2015
Moth Agriphila straminella 174 2017
Moth Ancylis comptana 299 2018
Moth Blackneck 268 2016
Moth Blastobasis lacticolella 254 N
Moth Chrysoteuchia culmella 77 2018
Moth Cinnabar 130 2018
Moth Crambus perlella (10:14) 50 2016
Moth Crescent Plume 320 N
Moth Diamond Back-moth 282 2016
Moth Endothenia gentinaena 183 2018
Moth Forester 163 2018
Moth Purple Marbled 309 N
Moth Pyrausta despicata 113 2017
Moth Pyrausta nigrita 280 2016
Moth Shaded Broad-bar 242 1999
Moth Silver Y 312 2018
Moth Six-spot Burnet 141 2017
Moth Synaphe punctalis 118 2016
Moth Thistle Ermine 266 2017
Orthoptera Common Green Grasshopper 37 2018
Orthoptera Field Grasshopper 143 2018
Orthoptera Great Green Bush Cricket 261 2018
Orthoptera Lesser Marsh Grasshopper 208 2016
Orthoptera Long-winged Conehead 123 2016
Orthoptera Meadow Grasshopper 10 2016
Orthoptera Roesel's Bush-cricket 11 2018
Plants Agrimony 81 2017
Plants Annual Meadow-grass 20 2016
Plants Annual Sea-blite 201 1999
Plants Barren Brome 55 2005
Plants Betony 287 2005
Plants Bird's-foot Trefoil 95 2017
Plants Biting Stonecrop ??? 2017
Plants Bittersweet 167 2017
Plants Black Horehound ??? 2005
Plants Black Medick 236 2016
Plants Blackthorn 15 2017
Plants Bladder Campion 92 2006
Plants Bramble 28 2017
Plants Bristly Oxtongue 190 2005
Plants Broad-leaved Dock 35 2017
Plants Broad-leaved Willowherb ??? 2005
Plants Buck's-horn Plantain 230 2018
Plants Carline Thistle 225 2017
Plants Cleavers 60 2017
Plants Clustered Bellflower 289 2005
Plants Cock's-foot 75 2017
Plants Common Centaury 148 2017
Plants Common Couch ??? 2005
Plants Common Fleabane 181 2005
Plants Common Knapweed 96 2017
Plants Common Mallow 1 2017
Plants Common Mouse-ear 127 2005
Plants Common Nettle 12 2017
Plants Common Ragwort 133 2017
Plants Common Restharrow 125 2018
Plants Common Sorrel 102 2017
Plants Common Toadflax 166 2011
Plants Common Vetch 230 2016
Plants Common Whitebeam ??? 2017
Plants Cow Parsley 229 2017
Plants Creeping Bent 26 2005
Plants Creeping Cinquefoil 24 2017
Plants Creeping Thistle 51 2017
Plants Curled Dock 184 2017
Plants Cut-leaved Crane's-bill 23 2017
Plants Daisy 321 2017
Plants Deadly Nightshade 263 2017
Plants Dog Rose 115 2017
Plants Dove'sfoot Crane's-bill 228 20217
Plants Dropwort 288 2014
Plants Dwarf Thistle 112 2017
Plants Elder 14 2017
Plants Eyebright 121 2017
Plants Fairy Flax 126 2014
Plants False Oat-grass 13 2011
Plants False-brome 272 2017
Plants Field Bindweed 272 N
Plants Field Scabious 142 2005
Plants Germander Speedwell 245 2017
Plants Glaucous Sedge 170 2006
Plants Gorse 93 2017
Plants Greater Knapweed 136 2017
Plants Greater Plantain 27 2017
Plants Greater Sea-spurrey 192 2012
Plants Green Alkanet 228 2011
Plants Ground-ivy 160 2017
Plants Hairy Violet 159 2017
Plants Hard-grass 197 N
Plants Hawthorn 16 2017
Plants Heath Speedwell 271 2017
Plants Heath-grass 293 2017
Plants Hedge Bedstraw 153 2005
Plants Hedge Mustard 29 2005
Plants Henbane 308 2017
Plants Hoary Plantain 323 2005
Plants Hoary Ragwort 134 1999
Plants Hoary Willowherb 269 2017
Plants Hogweed 34 2017
Plants Honeysuckle 292 2017
Plants Hound's-tongue 164 2017
Plants Japanese Rose 224 2017
Plants Knotgrass agg. 8 2005
Plants Lady's Bedstraw 69 2016
Plants Lesser Centaury 178 N
Plants Lesser Hawkbit 117 2005
Plants Lesser Stitchwort 135 2005
Plants Lesser Swine-cress 21 2006
Plants Meadow Foxtail 34 1999
Plants Meadow Vetchling 138 1999
Plants Montbretia 229 N
Plants Moon Carrot 313 2018
Plants Mouse-ear Hawkweed 285 2017
Plants Mugwort 40 2006
Plants Musk Mallow 139 2005
Plants Perennial Rye-grass 7 2005
Plants Perennial Sow-thistle 61 2005
Plants Perforate St John's-wort 140 2017
Plants Prickly Sow-thistle 255 2016
Plants Red Bartsia 99 1999
Plants Red Clover 103 2005
Plants Red Fescue 241 2017
Plants Ribwort Plantain 84 2017
Plants Rock Sea-lavender 195 2015
Plants Rosebay Willowherb 258 2017
Plants Rough Hawkbit 283 2005
Plants Rough Meadow-grass 9 2006
Plants Salad Burnet 110 2017
Plants Saltmarsh Rush (11:56) 200 2018
Plants Scarlet Pimpernel 179 2005
Plants Scentless Mayweed 39 2005
Plants Sea Couch 193 2012
Plants Sea Mayweed 196 2017
Plants Sea-beet 194 2017
Plants Sea-kale 216 2017
Plants Selfheal 111 2005
Plants Sharp-leaved Fluellen 182 2016
Plants Sheep's Fescue (10:47) 100 1999
Plants Shepherd's Purse 5 2011
Plants Silverweed 173 2017
Plants Slender Thistle 70 2017
Plants Smaller Cat's-tail 85 2011
Plants Smith's Pepperwort 295 2011
Plants Smooth Hawk's-beard 147 2005
Plants Smooth Meadow-grass 144 N
Plants Smooth Sow-thistle 54 2006
Plants Soft-brome 237 2006
Plants Spear Thistle 97 2017
Plants Spear-leaved Orache 203 2005
Plants Squinancywort 169 2005
Plants Sticky Groundsell 212 N
Plants Stinking Iris 255 2017
Plants Thrift 315 2017
Plants Thyme-leaved Sandwort 305 N
Plants Tor-grass 98 2016
Plants Traveller's Joy 89 2017
Plants Tufted Vetch 122 1999
Plants Upright Brome 171 2014
Plants Upright Hedge-parsley 172 2005
Plants Viper's-bugloss 82 2017
Plants Wall Barley 2 2005
Plants Wall Cotoneaster 290 2017
Plants Weld 88 2017
Plants White Bryony 158 2017
Plants White Campion 274 2005
Plants White Clover 109 2017
Plants White Stonecrop 32 2005
Plants Wild Basil 106 1999
Plants Wild Carrot 235 2010
Plants Wild Parsnip (13:30) 250 2009
Plants Wild Teasel 168 2017
Plants Wild Thyme 116 2017
Plants Wood Sage 266 2017
Plants Yarrow 76 2017
Plants Yellow Horned-poppy 199 2017
Plants Yellow Oat-grass 104 1999
Plants Yorkshire-fog 59 2005
Spider Agalenatea redii 306 2016
Spider Araneus diademtaus 90 2016
Spider Araniella opistographa M 2016
Spider Arctosa leopardus 213 2016
Spider Dictyna latens 129 2016
Spider Dipoena prona 307 2018
Spider Enoplognatha latimana 279 2016
Spider Euophrys frontalis 165 2016
Spider Larinioides cornutus 66 2018
Spider Micraria pulicaria 214 N
Spider Neoscona adianta 145 2018
Spider Neottiura bimaculata 260 2016
Spider Oedothorax fuscus M N
Spider Oedothorax retusus M N
Spider Ozyptila simplex M 2016
Spider Pachygnatha degeeri 73 2016
Spider Pardosa monticola M N
Spider Pardosa pullata M 2018
Spider Pisaura mirabilis (11:14) 150 2017
Spider Selimus vittatus 262 2015
Spider Sitticus inexpectus 215 N
Spider Theridion tinctum M N
Spider Wasp Spider 256 2017
Spider Xysticus erraticus M N
Spider Zygiella atrica 301 N
Springtail Orchesella villosa 246 N
Springtail Tomocerus longicornis 319 2018

I got some photos of the wings and gave the bug an English name

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday, 12 July 2019 18:40

I have had a bit more time to look at the bugs. Turns out that I picked up a male and a female (above). The male was photographed in the previous post. The female is so strange looking from behind and it really does make you wonder where the wings go. So I thought I would see if I could see the wings and the female just displayed them! Seth Gibson researched it and commented on the previous post. They do indeed fold up like a fan and then hide under the over-sized scutellum! Check it out!


The last one shows them folding up before disappearing under the scutellum! What an incredible little weirdo it is! I have always wanted to come up with an English name for a species and I have decided, after talking to Tristan Bantock, that Trapezium Shieldbug Coptosoma scutellatum is a useful name as it describes the unusual shape. What do you think?

MY FIRST UK FIRST IS A SHIELDBUG FAMILY NEW TO THE BRITISH ISLES!!!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday, 10 July 2019 19:32

So we started the July visit of this year's survey of the Marline Valley invertebrates. About 20 minutes in I got a really odd looking bug in the suction sampler. I first thought it was an immature shieldbug of some kind until I had a closer look when I realised it was an adult. It's pretty much ALL scutellum. I assumed it was some weird mirid. Later on a second animal was swept. Both were from areas with dense Dyer's Greenweed.

I just got home and realised it's not a mirid and after a bit of searching online found something that it remotely looks like. I think it's in the genus Coptosoma, possibly Coptosoma scutellatum. It's known to feed on legumes and Genista is mentioned as a food plant. It's in the family Plataspidae that as far as I can tell is not a UK family. Two suggests more than a random occurrence, it must have bred here. It must be able to fly but it looks completely flightless. A new shieldbug family for the UK!

Tristan Bantock has just told me that it's the only species of this genus in France and it must be this species! He says it's likely to have come in in last year's heat wave, which matches what I was thinking as we saw two adults there today.

This is the first species I have ever recorded new to Britain so I am delighted that it's also a family new to Britain! It's so strange looking. Like it's been stretched sideways. It's basically a butt with a head. Or a walking purse. I need to go and celebrate this. But first, big thanks to Mike Edwards (for lending me his suction sampler today after I broke mine - this has taught me that I can NEVER be without it again), Alice Parfitt for managing such amazing meadows for Sussex Wildlife Trust that they are the first port of call for new colonists, Ted for sweeping the second individual (it's took me 41 years to get a first for Britain and this lad gets one on his work experience) and Glenn Norris for his fantastic description of the beast that I will not repeat here!

Online I see that they are known as 'soot sprites' according to Wikipedia. Which is very cool as that is the name of the creatures in Spirited Away...

11/07/2019 EDIT: I took some more photos but this is the one that really illustrate just how big the scutellum is. Where ARE the wings?! 

Constant effort recording

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 8 July 2019 19:39

I had my first weekend off in ages. What did I spend it doing? Looking for spiders. This blog was going to be called 'I have seen 300 species of spider this year!!!'. I needed six species. I worked all day and got one new spider. However the supporting cast of other inverts was far more exciting and I got some nice photos too. At Graffham Common, I swept some heather and young pine and in the first sweep got Scarce 7-spot Ladybird (Na) new to West Sussex (as far as I know it's only known from Flatropers, Chailey Common and Broadwater Warren). A couple of years ago I searched extensively for this in this area (it's only found within a few metres of Formica rufa nests). I think it's highly likely that this has only colonised in the last couple of years as there are more Formica rufa nests now. This in turn is down to the great work Sussex Widllife Trust have done to produce such amazing habitat. I saw three all day and walked right up to one. It's a different shape and has much bigger spots. Here is one next to the ubiquitous 7-spot Ladybird

The power of the spreadsheet we compiled really works not just as a snap shot but as a way of capturing constant effort. The proportion of inverts with conservation status could be assessed from a single survey yet a more accurate result can be made by the accumulative records of all surveys and casual records, the 'true' proportion being slowly converged on by this approach. Graffham Common is unusual in that it's now our fifth best site for this metric. Only Rye Harbour, Iping Common, Seaford Head and Malling Down have higher proportions, all of which are heavily designated sites. Graffham Common is only partly designated as a Local Wildlife Site. Findings yesterday actually increased this proportion from 10.5 to 10.8%. I've got the spreadsheet set up so all you need to do is plug in the year of the last record and this proportion (across all invertebrate groups) is calculated automatically. It's rather satisfying.

A lifer for me was this gruesome wasp. This is the female Methocha articulata, the first time I have seen this Nb species. It allows itself to be captured by a tiger beetle larva where it is grabbed by its armoured waist. It stings the larva then drags it back down its own burrow, lays its eggs on it, seals it in to its own burrow and well you can imagine. 

I also recorded Theridion pinastri (NS) new to all of Sussex! That's the 149th spider recorded there.

Not everything new had cons status (although a lot did). The Heather Shiedlbug is never easy to find but I recorded three adults and a dozen or more immatures yesterday, more than I have ever seen collectively before. Why? Well there were more Heather Beetle larvae yesterday than I have ever seen so I suspect this is what has attracted them in. They were very active and would not keep still.

And not new to the site but nice to see a male Stictoleptura rubra again.

I was hoping for Xysticus luctuosus (this being its only Sussex site). I didn't find it but here is a nice female Xytcius kochi.

And who doesn't love Evarcha arcuata? Such a poser.

And Uloborus walckenaerius is still knocking about. 

Elampus panzeri was a new site record.

Right at the end of the day though I saw this in my tray. Andromeda Lacebug, a new record for any Trust reserve (it's our 10,309th species) of this alien species from Japan. Now I have seen plenty of shots of this before and it's pretty strange looking from above...

...BUT LOOK AT IT FROM THE SIDE!!! What is going on with that fancy head work? It looks like it might as well be from the Andromeda Galaxy not Japan! What evil schemes is it hatching in there?! I had no idea, I thought it was flat! It's like the Eden Project grew legs and came to life. And then shrunk. And then turned black. OK, it's nothing like the Eden Project but this made my day. I love the little freak. Whatever will turn up next out there?

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