Creatures of shadow and flame

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 24 April 2012 23:35

The Lyons Den is two years old today! I was thinking how much things have changed in these two years with the blog becoming well received and this then leading on to pan-species listing and of course the podcast. I think it has been a worthwhile use of my time and despite feeling like I was going to jack it in a few months back, I am very much here to stay.
So, today I was doubtful for a story to mark the second birthday but boy was I wrong! Whilst downing a pint of coffee this morning, I was flicking through British Wildlife. I Googled this new Rambur's Pied Shieldbug Tritomega sexmaculataus so I would know what to look for. I ended up on the British Bugs website and then on Ashley Wood's Flickr account. I then saw a load of photos of Firebugs Pyrrhocoris apterus on Ashley's account taken in Sussex just days before! Now, I am friends with Ashley on Facebook so by mid morning I had the gen and was hurtling down to Sompting on my lunch break. I counted 80 Firebugs in a short stretch of road verge on the north side of the A27. They seem to be in a narrow (20 cm) litter layer under the mallow and between the concrete foot path. Cool looking things, I have not seen them in the UK and probably last saw them in Menorca 20 years ago. A big thank you to Ashley's son, Steve Jeffs, as it was him who found them. Watch out for the superficially similar Corizus hyoscyami, I have seen this a few times in Sussex.
Then things got really exciting when I spotted this massive (15 mm long) weevil! I thought I had found the very rare Liparus germanus but with a little help from Andy Phillips and Mark Telfer, I realised it's the nationally scarce (Nb) Liparus coronatus. I love it when you go looking for something exciting and you find something even more exciting. What an amazing looking weevil. Two ticks for the price of one and all within 8 miles of my office. I love the Internet.
Some stats from the blog: I have had 20,321 people look at the blog with over 122,309 page views. I have made 555 posts, which works out to around 3/4 days. I'm quite pleased with 185 followers and over 1900 followers on Twitter. I look forward to more antics in the coming years! A big thank you to all the people who have helped and contributed over the years. I end the day on 3869 species.

8 Response to "Creatures of shadow and flame"

Mel Lloyd Says:

There's also a colony within spitting distance of RSPB HQ across the A1 in Beeston (blogged http://sandywildlife.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/seeing-red.html). I think the Beds colony is the furthest north they've been recorded. I see the food plant, mallow, growing down the pavement edge. Cool find. Agree, internet is wonderful for such connections.

Graeme Lyons Says:

Thanks Mel. See if you can find a Liparus coronatus there too!

Sarah Says:

Did the same thing myself last week!!!!! (But didn't get the weevil)

Tristan Bantock Says:

Glad you found them Graeme! Liparus is a very impressive weevil

Doug Thompson Says:

Thanks for the pointer Graeme. I crossed the hill to Sompting today and took some pictures of the firebugs. They haven't been washed away by the rain!

Charlie Says:

Don't for God's sake ever pack this blog in - it's flipping inspirational!
Charlie

Graeme Lyons Says:

Thanks for the comment! I won't be stopping just yet! Or ever even.

Anonymous Says:

Pleased to see that the Firebugs are still thriving along the Sompting Road. Last saw them there in January 2010. See Sussex Wildlife Trust magazine Issue 160.

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