Broom broom

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday 29 January 2019 13:48

Last summer I was fortunate to find three of these in a sweep net. This wasn't in Sussex though. Gargara genistae (above) is a local species that feeds on Broom, there is only one Sussex record. It was found in Rewell Wood in 1982 (I don't think it's been recorded in East Sussex) by Wilberforce Jones and E. C. M. Haes. Actually there was a second lifer in the net, the Broom Leaf Beetle Gonioctena olivacea. Anther local species but not a particularly rare one (below). Broom just isn't that common in Sussex. When I say common, it's definitely widespread but if you want good populations of invertebrates that feed on a specific plant, you need lots of that plant in lots of places in the landscape. I rarely get to sweep Broom like this in Sussex. Flatropers has got a bit but it's isolated in woodland and rarely has anything on it.

Anyway back to the charming Gargara. It's one of only two tree hoppers we have. The other being the much commoner Centrotus cornutus. I think Gargara genistae is probably the closest insect in the UK to a cube in its proportions. Plea minutissima might give it a run for its money though. Is there anything else more cube-like out there?

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