Secrets of the Heath

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 10 September 2018 19:13

I helped the Trust man a stall at the Secrets of the Heath event at Petersfield Heath in east Hampshire all weekend. The highlight for me were showing kids invertebrates throughout both days. They were such a knowledgeable bunch, some of them even had their own bug kits. The big white tray (or 'bug world' as it became known by one group of kids) was a real hit.

I got a lifer too. Rhopalus maculatus. This bug has only five records in Sussex. One very old record in the East and four in the far West, the last being in 2014. It's yet to be recorded on a Trust reserve, I suspect it could turn up at Iping Common. It was the commonest Rhopalus at Petersfield Heath. You can see the mainly orange abdomen and the rows of dots along the connexivum and the underside of the abdomen, instantly recognisable.

Although I have seen Agonopterix nervosa before, I can't find any records of it. Considering the larvae eats gorse, it can't be that common in Sussex.

And several people picked up Araneus marmoreus, another species uncommon in Sussex. I have only seen it in the Ashdown Forest, although there are occasional records from Woods Mill. Just goes to show, leave Sussex just by a few miles and the invertebrates start to change quite significantly.

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