There can be only one

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Thursday, 7 April 2016 07:57

There can be only one specimen that is a county first. I wasn't expecting this at Levin Down yesterday! Platyrhinus resinosus (Nb) new to West Sussex! Would you believe it but there is only one record for this species in Sussex being in East Sussex. It is associated with King Alfred's Cakes but is very rare in the county compared to Platystomos albinus (which I saw at Levin two weeks ago). North, east and west of Sussex and it seems fairly frequent. Anyway, found two yesterday on some felled Ash at Levin Down. I've only seen this once before in Berkshire and the individual shot into a hole faster than I could get my camera out. So I was very glad to see a big, bright and cooperative one in Sussex during a survey on one of our reserves. 

A LONG time ago, Scotty Dodd described this beetle to me as looking like the Kurgan from Highlander. That image stuck. I've waited a long time to write this blog...

If you're not convinced, maybe the soundtrack will get you more in the goes a bit weird after two minutes, think that was edited from the movie.

Anyway, here are some more shots of this awesome creature.

Underneath, it's a much more convincing bird-dropping mimic! It has a habit of tucking its legs and rolling away. Very cool indeed. So despite rather changeable weather yesterday, We recorded nearly 90 species in the field with many more specimens that require microscopic identification, that's going to be today's job. Ollie Sayers came out with me and had a great day learning where to find invertebrates and soon found something quite uncommon in the form of Oedemera femoralis (Nb). A good day for saproxylics on a chalk-grassland site. It gets better though. Under some very dull looking brackets (Turkey-tail and Hairy Curtain Crust) on stumps of recently removed scrub I found four of these.
This is Tritoma bipustulata (Na) and possibly the first records in Sussex for 30 years. I think it's only been recorded at Stedham Common and Arundel Park and considering how much saproxylic work we have done in this part of the world, I doubt very much we have overlooked it. The field season has already started with a bang for me but you know what they say:

"It's better to burn out, than to fade away!".

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