Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday, 19 April 2014 10:31
There is lots going on this weekend in my world. My birthday, the soft launch of the pan-species lister's new website (coming soon), my first silver WOD at Crossfit, the start of a freelance invertebrate survey on the Pevensey Levels today and of course, my imminent approach to 5000 species. So what better time to spend an entire day legging it around Hampshire and Dorset looking for wildlife with Tony Davis? That's exactly what I did yesterday and it was great fun.
Now it's great looking for target species but I quite often fail to find them and find something rarer or more unexpected in the process. Yesterday was a great example of this. I got some gen from Andy Phillips that Studland Dunes was a good place to see spiders so we headed there. I wanted to see Philodromus fallax and the Rhombic Leatherbug Syromastus rhombeus. We saw neither. But we did see LOTS of cool things including the much rarer Dalman's Leatherbug Spathocera dalmanii (above). This is a Na species, much rarer than the target leatherbug!
Other highlights from these dunes included these jumping spiders which I was convinced was a new species for me until I realised they were the females of Aelurillus v-insignitis. Still, I've never seen the females before and never seen this species outside of Iping Common.
This click beetle I believe to be the Nb Cardiophorus asellus. Zoom in on the photo. Seriously, it has a heart shaped scutellum! I think this should be called the Romeo Click Beetle.
And nearby this tenebrionid, being Phylan gibbus. I could literally spend all day staring at bare ground searching for movement. To me this is the entomological equivalent of sea-watching.
This is really only a fraction of the species I saw yesterday which also included great things to stumble across like a stonking Heath Tiger Beetle and male Sand Lizard! Anyway, I reckon I can easily get to 5000 this weekend (I'm on 4990!!!) if I push it but I was starting to feel a little jaded by it all last night, so I am going to relax and just let it happen! I think going off piste and finding unexpected things is far more rewarding than always hitting the targets. You only have to look to Star Wars to remember how bad things can go if you don't learn to be a little flexible now and again! Loosen up!