Body parts

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday 2 June 2010 20:04

Today I took the day off work and was privileged enough to accompany Peter Hodge to visit a site (I'd rather not name it I'm afraid) and look for beetles and other invertebrates. We had a fairly slow day to start with, highlights that included the cranefly Tanyptera atrata, the click beetle Ampedus elongantulus and Ischnomera sanguinicollis. A couple of Spotted Flycatchers and a few Mandarins provided the avian saproxylic interest. It was not until the end of the day when we found some extensive areas of red rot and soon saw a number of bright blue-purple elytra which I was told were Helops caeruleus (middle photo). Then I found a large, flat, black elytron with pale spots and it was clear this belonged to the massively rare Variable Chafer Gnorimus variabilis (top photo). There was a record from this site in the form of a head capsule roughly five years ago so it is great to confirm the sighting. Within ten minutes I had found another left-hand elytron and then Peter found a head capsule/pronotum! This species is as rare as it gets really, RDB1, part of a BAP grouped statement and now known from Windsor Forest and this site in Sussex and that is it! the final body part was an elytron of a Stag Beetle (bottom photo). To finish off the day, I finally saw the nationally scarce longhorn beetle Anaglyptus mysticus, photos to follow tomorrow hopefully. This goes to show how much beetling can be done with left over body parts. Awesome.

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