Something's been bugging me about Sussex Wildlife Trust's reserves...

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday 6 January 2017 14:52

It's how many bugs do we have of course! And by that I mean Heteroptera, the true bugs that I am county recorder for. It's not so easy to do that for other taxa from the Recorder 6 output as the hoppers, plant-lice and aphids are all mixed in too but I have removed the offending species for this analysis. So, I thought it was also about time I put together a definitive county list (both for East and West Sussex) as well as the reserve list. And my list. So many lists.

So the Sussex list is up 5 species to 429 including the tiny introduced Buchananiella continua I recorded at Ebernoe in the summer. Estimates were right in saying East Sussex is the richer county, almost certainly due to more open habitats like Rye that do well for bugs. East Sussex has 387 species with West over 40 species behind on 346. It's important to remember we have two counties and that a first for West Sussex is just as significant as say a first for Surrey. East is also more recently recorded, the mean year of the last record per species is 2007 compared to 2002. With 2008 overall which is not bad really. Sussex Wildlife Trust reserves have 486 bugs (but that's ALL bugs). Just the Heteroptera comes out at 308 species. My Heteroptera list is 255, almost all of which is in Sussex.

Guess what the best reserve is for Hets? Surprise, surprise it's the greedy Goliath Rye Harbour with a whopping 146 species. It has some bugs found nowhere else in the county like Arenocoris falleni. Followed by Malling at 112, Ebernoe at 90, Woods Mill 86 and the unexpected jewel Flatropers at 74. 

The most frequent species at 16 of the reserves is the tiny but super abundant Plagiognathus arbustorum. Again I'm surprised it's not a shield bug, this is a bug you are unlikely to identify if you haven't made any effort with mirids and I certainly don't have a photo of it. After this it's Hawthorn Shieldbug, Capsus ater and Sloe Shieldbug at 16. The unique species account for 97 of the 308 species.

Across the county, the Dock Bug is the most frequently recorded bug with 639 records. The number of Heteroptera records ha risen to 16977 from 12011. A 41% increase in two years. This is in part to several new and prolific recorders but a big part of this is iRecord. Which leads me to the shieldbug atlas that we have been working on at the SxBRC which I'll be talking about at Adastra in a few weeks. Watch this space for an update on this project really soon! Really interesting to see how poorly recorded our most recorded and easy to identify bugs are. Not for long at this rate though. We are definitely in a new age of bug recording in Sussex!

2 Response to "Something's been bugging me about Sussex Wildlife Trust's reserves..."

Hilary Melton-Butcher Says:

Hi Graeme - I'm hooked and will happily read your posts ... and learn. We had Michael Blencowe come and talk at one of our monthly U3A Meads (Eastbourne) meetings - and I wrote an article up on it for the magazine. It was about the Trust's sites in East Sussex ... I couldn't cover them all - nor could he - but I did enjoy getting behind the scenes and the set up etc - back history.

I'd love to write about bugs and how they affect all our walks of life ... tying our world together with lots of different threads into the weave that makes this earth one ...

I blog on a whole range of subjects (just about to start year 9) - so write what I want to ... I'm not a specialist ... but I've written about the Naturalists (Ray, White, Montagu and Darwin) from the 1600 and 1800s in a brief overview ... and I love how they've noted so much in their records. I have yet to get to Selborne - passed it finally the other day - but no time to stop .. so another day. I do post on reminding everyone that we need to protect our planet ...

Cheers - I'll be watching out for your bugging posts ... thanks - they'll be brilliant - Hilary

Graeme Lyons Says:

Glad you're enjoying it! Keep up the good work!

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