Biblical beetling

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday, 22 January 2014 19:42

Last week I payed a visit to Amberley Wildbrooks and was amazed at the strand line of flood debris that extended off to the horizon. I didn't have much time to look so I had to go back a little more prepared and despite even then having only an hour to record, I managed to identify 36 species of insect, 33 of which were beetles including nine species I hadn't seen before. Not bad for an hour in January?

I found that rather than sieve through so much litter, it was easier to find beetles under logs. The logs in the litter had very few beetles under them but the logs adjacent to the litter in the grass were covered in beetles underneath. I would say that every log had at least a hundred beetles underneath of many different species. In the above photos, most of what you can see is Paederus riparius but in among them I found a few of the Nb Paederus fuscipes. You can also make out a few Stenus and a 16-spot Ladybird.

Here are the Nb species I recorded, species in bold were new to me:

Pterostichus anthracinus
Paederus fuscipes
Demetrias monistigma (I have only seen this once before at Burton Pond)
Oodes heliopioides (this is present in the fen at Filsham)
Acupalpus exiguus

Other species new to me but without a conservation status were:
Notaris acridulus
Stenus clavicornis
Stenus pallipes
Tachyporus pusillus
Bembidion assimile
Anacaena globulus
Chartoscirta cocksii (a shore bug)

It's amazing how many species can be found this way and this particular flood really felt like an opportunity that couldn't be missed. As I was there, the river had breached the banks again and was pouring into the site in a mile long waterfall that produced quite a roar! I think this boat that has appeared on the reserve, says it all.

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