Replic-ants

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Thursday, 4 July 2019 20:28

What would you do when you have your first day off in nearly three months? Go to the New Forest doing even more entomology obviously! I saw on Twitter that Richard Wilson was going there to look for a rare spider (Haplodrassus umbratilis - with all the permissions) with Steven Falk so I asked if I could tag along. It was great seeing Steven again and finally getting to meet Richard. We didn't find the spider but having permission to search in the Forest with suction samplers was a great opportunity. It wasn't a great day for spiders but it did turn out to be rather good for bugs. Especially rare and scarce bugs that look like ants.

First up and by far the rarest is this impressive Myrmecoris gracilis, a lifer for me and an RDB3 species. It's hard to believe this is a mirid and a 'grass bug' to boot. It's one of my favourite finds of the year being totally unlike anything else. Well, I did think it might have been an earlier instar Alydus calcaratus at first but it was all wrong for that with huge antennae that are totally different. You can see the micropterous wings are actually fully developed so this is an adult. Seems to mimic Formica fusca. Here are some more shots.

In the same place we also found a male and female Systellonotus triguttatus. Here is the ant-like female of this nationally scarce mirid.

And then the Formica rufa-mimicking Alydus calcaratus nymph. Which looks nothing like Myrmecoris.

The only spider I got new for the year was Scotina celans. As of today I am on 290 (Matt is on at least 296 - who will get to 300 first?!).

It's always nice to see an adult male Aelurillus v-insigntis. Look at his green eyes. And so pensive!

Only the second time I have ever seen Large Marsh Grasshopper too, our biggest grasshopper.  Some impressive legs they have.

And Steven found this Odontomyia angulata, an impressive soldier fly.

The plants were also great but this Lesser Bladderwort was only the second time I had seen it.

And a big patch of Coral-necklace. It was a great day. I must do more natural history for fun.

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