Is this Britain's best looking beetle!?

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday, 31 May 2014 17:46

After a slow start yesterday, the invertebrate survey at Burton Pond developed into a slow and steady trickle of large charismatic mega fauna and exciting rarities. Of greatest visual impact was this MASSIVE Agapanthia villosoviridescens. We actually saw six or more of these and all were sitting on Hemp-agrimony stems. This is one of only a few longhorn beetles which don't feed on wood as larvae and are known to feed in umbellifer stems. It's the first time I have seen one of these in four years and my first Sussex ones, glad to see them well established on on of our sites.

Mike noticed a nest of Lasius platythorax and said this would be a place for the hoverfly Microdon analis. As if by magic, a mating pair were spotted seconds later. In the afternoon I swept Microdon myrmicae from the the Black Hole which is the first time I have seen this species. I think both of these species are nationally scarce.

This HUGE Araneus angulatus (Nb) was only my third encounter with this species and the first one that was photographable. It's not even fully mature and is already a huge spider.

Strange things that I would not have expected to see included Bristly Millipede Polyxenus lagurus beaten off a dead tree at New Piece. Here is a photo I took of one at Rye Harbour.

And I swept a Donacia crassipes (Nb) off Alder.

Other highlights included the Ornate Brigadier Odontomyia ornata an IUCN Vulnerable species and perhaps the rarest find of the survey. Another exciting record was two Crambus uliginosellus netted in flight from Black Hole. This Nb micro moth is a bog specialist. According to Colin Pratt, this has not been seen in West Sussex since 1992 and this looks like a new site. Also in Black Hole was a cracking adult female Pirata piscatorius which I have only ever seen at Pevensey and might be a first for West Sussex! The only new beetle I saw all day was Abdera flexuosa which fell off a bracket fungi as I potted up a Dorcatma! I even saw four new species of spider but I haven't got time to go into them. Burton Pond is proving to be an exceptional site for invertebrates, what will we find their next?!

3 Response to "Is this Britain's best looking beetle!?"

amanda peters Says:

Intresting finds and the Agapanthia is stunning.

Millymollymandy Says:

I've just followed your blog in the hope I'll learn more species from you! Nice finds and great photos. Glad to say I did come across Agapanthia something mating last year - they are fabulous looking beetles!

ThePonker Says:

...Yes, that is possibly Britain's best looking beetle and if i'm honest, if/when I come across one of these I will do a heel click regardless of who's watching. Maybe even a fist pump. Cracking beast.

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