Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 15 June 2014 10:20
I like seeing new wildlife, especially when I've never heard of it before! That's what happened yesterday with this beetle. This is the nationally scarce (Nb) Hallomenus binotatus and I found three on the underneath of a Sulphur Polypore at Ashcombe Bottom. I've been doing some freelance entomology for the National Trust up there and I have to say, it's a very strange place.
I'll paint a picture. It's quite hard to get to, about halfway between Ditchling Beacon and Lewes and not far from Black Cap (2.5 miles from Ditchling Beacon car park, I know this, as my legs are killing me). The site is a large ancient woodland nestled in a valley so when you are in there you see hardly anyone, hear hardly anything and don't feel at all like you are on the Downs. There are some huge ancient oaks and ash in there but the old hazels and hawthorns are perhaps the most remarkable, the biggest hawthorns and hazels I have EVER seen I saw yesterday. In fact, the above Sulphur Polypore was growing out of a huge hawthorn. Bracken grows everywhere throughout the wood but there are pockets of chalk-grassland in the form of glades.
Sweeping under the above oak tree, I picked up Ampedus elongantulus. I saw a number of saproxylic beetles there I usually see in the West Weald in West Sussex such as Melandrya caraboides and Hedobia imperialis.
This striking larvae looked easy enough for me to identify and indeed it was, this is the Frosted Green which I beat off a Turkey Oak. Lots of specimens to identify including a tiny Malthodes the size of a thrip and some rather nice looking crab spiders...