How far would you go for a first for Sussex!?

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday 13 April 2012 20:15

Picture the scene. I'm walking quietly through a heathery glade at Graffham Common with Jane and two chaps from Amphibian and Reptile Conservation looking for potential hibernacula. I had my net with me and took the opportunity to do a little sweeping, mainly for spiders. I look down into my net to see a small longhorn beetle which I thought was going to be Leiopus. I then realised it was actually a Pogonocherus. Looking a little closer, I noticed it lacked the horns at the back of the elytra, which meant it was the scarce one on pine. Before putting it in a pot, I needed to get a decent photo, so I placed it on some pine bark and began snapping away. Little did I know that I had knelt down in a Wood Ants nest. I suddenly found ants crawling all over me, heading down my trousers and before I knew it, I had been bitten in the worst place you could possibly be bitten by an ant! I held still until I had taken the shot but it wasn't as good as it could have been with all the shaking...
...I got back to the office and confirmed the ID as Pogonocherus fasciculatus. A new species for me! I checked the SxBRC to see there were no records and a quick phone call to Peter Hodge confirmed that this would be a county first. Peter did also say I should check that it wasn't one of the European Pogonocherus too but either way, that's a first for Sussex! This is a beetle, a longhorn beetle at that, a bird-dropping mimic, a first for me, a first for the county and it was on a Trust reserve. It doesn't get any better than that as far as I am concerned!

Other things I recorded today included this female Evarcha arcuata. Another nationally scarce species, this time a heathland specialist jumping spider.
And this nice carrion beetle, Oiceoptoma thoracica. It would not keep still for a photo, so I took a shot of the interesting red pronotum with the beetle in my grasp. The next adventure is going to be to look for a scarce leaf beetle on Lullington Heath...

5 Response to "How far would you go for a first for Sussex!?"

Anonymous Says:

What a great find and a really smart beetle of a genus I've not yet encountered. Good work!

Jonathan Newman

Suffolk Nature Says:

Well done that man!!! Great stuff. :)

Anonymous Says:

You really took one for the team there! Hope you've recovered.

Lovely little jumping spider too.

Graeme Lyons Says:

Thanks for the comments guys! All recovered.

Noushka Says:

Very interesting blog and a great study of nature!
Congratulation for your Pogonocherus beetle, must have been quite thrill and more so WITHOUT the ants!! LOL!
The Evarcha arcuata a female, isn't it?
I don't think I ever shot one, although I am a great fan of Salticidae spiders!
Happy to have discovered your blog and will look into it more thoroughly!

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