Hundreds and thousands

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Thursday, 31 May 2012 20:58

For the last two days I have been at Iping, Stedham and briefly, Graffham Commons showing two trustees around and carrying out an invertebrate survey. Needles to say, there was lots to see. Firstly though, I should add I am currently on 3999 species! I stopped identifying specimens for the evening so that species 4000 can be left totally to chance!

Anyway. Graffham Common. I stopped by the road and had a look at a fallen birch log that was covered in Razorstrop. I lifted one up to look for Diaperis boleti (as I have been doing for the last three years since Scotty Dodd told me to look out for them) and there was one! An RDB2 saproxylic. Tick! Graffham keeps coming up with good invert records. We had a very brief walk around the site. I swept once and found a male of the nationally scarce jumping spider Evarcha arcuata.
I went back to the birch log to photograph the Diaperis after saying goodbye to the trustees. Melandrya caraboides were buzzing around in the clearings. I knelt down to take a photograph and saw the nationally scarce wolf spider Xerolycosa nemoralis. A tiny Bitoma crenata crawled on the log and a deawood hoverfly, Xylota segnis, flitted about. This was one interesting log. It gets better. I turned an old Razorstrop over to find a decent background. There was another Diaperis and low and behold a Colydium elongatum! This is an RDB3 species.
Just as all this was happening I looked down to see crawling on the ground between me and the log a big red Ampedus which I suspect is the RDB3 Ampedus cinnabarinus. It took minutes to find three RDB deadwood beetle on a fallen birch. That really is something that doesn't usually happen. Here is the tree.
Earlier at Stedham, James spotted this dead dor beetle and I managed to identify it as the Na Heath Dor Beetle Trypocopris pyranaeus. A species I have not seen alive!
During the survey today at Stedham and Iping, I didn't get many opportunities to take photos but the male Xysticus that I found which was clearly not the super common Xysticus cristatus did allow one half decent shot. This species, a new one for me is Xysticus lanio. Up close, he is as ugly as the jumping spider is cute. I don't like his face, he looks like E.T. These last few years have been great. Throwing myself into entomology and being fearless when tackling difficult groups has paid dividends. I would encourage others to have this attitude towards identification: The only things stopping you is the right literature, the right kit and a little time. The way I see it, if just one other person in the world can identify something, then I should be able to also. My 3999th species was a Violet Black-legged Robberfly Dioctria atricapilla Any guesses what my 4000th species will be?

3 Response to "Hundreds and thousands"

Neil Says:

Congrats on 3999! I waiting to get my microscope but I plan to start trying harder to ID stuff. I'm slowly doing my list of things I know for sure Ive seen, getting lists of some groups that I can put in excel is the biggest problem so far!

Andrew Cunningham Says:

Tricky to guess a species specifically but I will plump for a grass species.

Steve Gale Says:

Let's hope it's a memorable one Graeme. My 3,000th was Bitter Bracket - I cannot even recall it! Good luck.

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