Venus in furze

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday 16 July 2017 09:45

Last week I stumbled across loads of this lovely little leaf beetle on young gorse at Beachy Head. I had no idea what it was at first, being a beetle I'd never heard off. That's what's so great about studying beetles. You keep seeing things that are a total surprise, even though I have seen 1145 species, that's only just over a quarter of all the UK species. Anyway, this is Calomicrus circumfusus and hasn't been seen in Sussex for 25 years. It's only the 5th county record which is odd as it eats gorse which is in plentiful supply. At Beachy Head it was quite restricted though, we didn't see it anywhere else except in that one patch.

I had another lifer for me, the tiny mirid bug Macrotylus paykulli which feeds on Restharrow. easy to find by sweeping large patches of the foodplant.

This gall is caused by the mite Aceria squalida and attacks the flower heads of Small Scabious.

We also saw a couple of Spring Dumble Dors (Trypocopris vernalis). Here and Seaford Head are still the only places I have ever seen this beetle. Never seen it in the spring however so I don't think the name is that good for identification. I've only seen this on chalk. You can just see the punctured pronotum which separates it from T. pyrenaeus which we get on the heaths at Iping and Stedham.

And a few Sermylassa halensis, common on the chalk but always nice to see.

Right, I'm off to Portugal for a week. Will I finally see a Roller!?

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