Large Conehead in Ashdown Forest!!!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday 11 September 2020 18:51

How  exactly did I end up in a bog with a chap kneeling at my feet shouting "get your little man out" just as two strangers walked passed and gave us disapproving looks? Well first off, I should say he meant TinyRecorder. That 'he' was Ray Gabriel. Ray, Danni Sherwood and I met up to go spidering at one of my favourite spidering sites, Old Lodge. It was a slow and steady on the spider front but we had seen many of the site specialities by this point. Having introduced Ray to my little public engagement project earlier when we found a big Dolomedes, we moved on to another mire when I heard Ray shout "I've got something big! A cricket" or something like that. I thought to myself as I rushed over, it can't be ANOTHER Large Conehead can it? It only bloody was! It's only 19 days since I saw them at Dungeness on the day they were discovered, here I am on a Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve in the middle of the Ashdown Forest a long way from the coast! In fact the nearest Sussex coast is just under 20 miles away. Clearly, Ray realised that this was a 'TinyRecorder moment' but his choice of words was just hilarious. This isn't the first Sussex record though, as there has been one in a garden in Bexhill since the start of August.

If an en entomologist can encounter these twice in less than three weeks, then there are far more around than you perhaps realise. It's going to be common here very soon I think. They are big and obvious in the day and very noisy at night, so I would think you might have a chance at finding them anywhere in the county now. Absolutely incredible! So nice to see in daylight too though. Enjoy the photos! I thought their eyes were black bu they are really not.

Spiders new for the year were Floronia bucculenta and remarkably, Drapetisca socialis, putting me on 345 spiders for 2020. Here is Drapetisca. Common as muck this one but it's my first of the year. We recorded at least 51 species of spider today but this really did eclipsed for me by that huge cricket. So unexpected!

New for the site was Ozytpila sancturia swept by Danni and Cnephalocotes obscurus by myself. It's not easy to get a new spider for Old Lodge so nice one Danni! The site has now had 172 species of spider recorded on it. Also new for the site, and only the second ever Sussex record was the ground bug Lamproplax picea that I sieved from Sphagnum. The only other Sussex record was Flatropers in 1696! Over 50 years ago. What an awesome day! A big thanks to Danni and Ray for a really enjoyable day.

1 Response to "Large Conehead in Ashdown Forest!!!"

Conehead54 Says:

Hope you're right & the Ruspolia does spread quickly. I've only seen it in Spain. Not having a car makes it difficult getting to Dungeness to see the wonderful Orthoptera (& all then other stuff). The Phaneroptera don't seem to have spread much (is it 2 current locations?), though Meconema meridionale spread very quickly even without flight! As you say this species is likely to be present un-recorded at other sites. Great find!

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