Het up

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 15 February 2014 06:16

So we all have are weak points, right? The one area that I have not been fastidious in keeping up to date and accurate with has been Hemiptera. That is until today. Last week I took on the role of county recorder for Heteroptera. Now for those out there that are not familiar wit the taxonomy of insects, bugs (or true bugs) are collectively known as Hemiptera. This order is split into a number of suborders. The classic bugs, such as shield bugs and ground bugs, fall into the order Heteroptera (this is what I will be covering). The hoppers used to be in the sub order Homoptera but this now has the awfully unpronounceable name of Auchenorrhyncha. Alan Stewart will continue to be the county recorder for these. Then you have psyllids  (Sternorrhyncha) which I haven't done anything with yet.

On my list I have previously just treated them to order with a total of 137 species of Hemiptera as of first thing this morning. For this group I have been keeping a paper checklist that I update as a I see new species but today I finally got around to updating this digitally and pulling everything together. I'm glad that I actually came out with 149 Hemiptera, in total being 132 Heteroptera and 17 Auchenorrhyncha, that from now on, on my list I will call true bugs and hoppers respectively. So I end the day on 4798 species, 12 species up. I'm glad to find that I was under-recording rather than over-recording! All the gaps are filled in and the missing species added to Recorder.

Of the 583 species of Heteroptera on the systematic list on British Bugs, I have seen only 132, just 22.6% of the fauna. Plenty of room to for improvement which is great as far as I am concerned. I searched my photo archive for a species that had slipped through the net and this was all I could find. It's the Nb Dicranocephalus medius, a bug that feeds on Wood Spurge that I saw at Rewell Wood in 2009 but have not seen since. So the first thing I need to do as county recorder now I have sorted my own bug business, is do the same for East and West Sussex and find out what the county list is, then I'll be in a better position to write an article about it for next year's Adastra and start doing some of the more fun stuff! Like trying to fill in the gaps and promoting bug recording. That leaves me with just one question that is best asked by Hudson from Aliens:

"Is this gonna be stand up fight, sir, or another bug hunt?"

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