July PSL review

July has been a good month for pan-species listing, with 170 additions to my list across all the groups. This means that I’ve already achieved my end of year goal of 1000 new species! By the end of July, I’d seen 1024 new species in 2017, taking my overall total to 3753. I spent most of the month at home in Cambridgeshire, but the final few days coincided with the beginning of a weeks holiday in Dorset, providing a boost in new species! Here’s the usual breakdown of my new finds during July:

Lichens: 1 new species- Chaenotheca ferruginea. Group total now 21. I’m hoping to push onwards with lichens in a month or two when all the insects and plants disappear.

Fungi: 6 new species, taking my total to 131. All microfungi, including the mildew Erysiphe aquilegiae on my garden Aquilegias.

Vascular Plants: A reasonable 13 new species, bringing my group total up to 925. A few garden escapes from wandering around a local housing estate, including Argentinian Vervain (Verbena bonariensis) and Purple Toadflax (Linaria purpurea). Best of all was Violet Helleborine (Epipactis purpurata) at Monks Wood, and my first ever Sundews! Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) on Hartland Moor, Dorset.

Left: Argentinian Vervain (Verbena bonariensis). Right: Purple Toadflax (Linaria purpurea).

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Violet Helleborine (Epipactis purpurata)- a beautiful and scarce plant of shaded south-eastern woodlands.
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Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia). It was great to finally see some of these lovely carnivorous plants.

Arachnids: 10 new species. Mostly spiders including the impressive Raft Spider Dolomedes fimbriatus at RSPB Arne, and Trochosa terricola. Another major highlight was the UK’s largest pseudoscorpion Dendrochernes cyrneus at Woodwalton Fen. A very rare species indeed! Details of its finding are in my previous blog HERE.

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Trochosa terricola, an absolute brute of a wolf spider (Lycosid), this female having a body length of 14mm.
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Dolomedes fimbriatus, a Raft Spider. I spotted this individual near the edge of a boggy pool at RSPB Arne, sheltering underneath some Bell Heather.
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Brian Eversham’s photo of Dendrochernes cyrneus. An amazing creature!

Odonata: A rare addition to this list takes my total to 26 (I haven’t been Dragonfly/Damselfly twitching, or North, very much). Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens).

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Female Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) on Hartland Moor, Dorset.

Hemipteroids: A group I’ve been working really hard on this year, and July is a good month for finding them! 58 new species, taking my group total to 254. A terrestrial heteroptera (land bugs) course mid-month helped out, but I’ve also worked hard finding new leafhoppers and Psocids. A selection of some recent finds from Dorset are shown below.

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An incredible species of leafhopper- Eupelix cuspidata. Found in dry grassland areas throughout southern England.

Left: Dicyphus annulatus, a small (3mm) Mirid bug found only on Restharrow. Right: Tuponia brevirostris, another small Mirid, this time found only on Tamarisk. A recent colonist to the UK, first recorded in 2001, this bug is now widespread in southern England.

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Gastrodes grossipes, a very flat 7mm long bug found on Scots Pine, often living in the cones.

Hymenoptera: Slightly below par with only 8 new species, taking my group total to 110. Nearly all solitary bees, including the lovely Dasypoda hirtipes.

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Dasypoda hirtipes, nicknamed the Pantaloon Bee due to its ‘baggy trousers’ of hair on the hind legs.

Coleoptera: 33 new species, so I’m now at 474 for the group. Though a good increase, July has been much harder for finding new beetles, and many weevils and Chrysomelids are past their peak. At the beginning of the month, the moth trap accounted for some really nice species! Here’s a generous helping of my new additions.

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Nationally scarce A Geotrupid Trypocopris pyrenaeus from Hartland Moor. A sandy heathland specialist, distinct in having very shallow elytral striae and pronotal punctures.
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A bizzare Anthribid weevil- Platystomos albinus. Not sure why, but this deadwood specialist was climbing Soft Rush!

Left: Nationally scarce Apionid weevil Squamapion cineraceum. Associated with Self-heal on dry, chalky soils. Right: Curculionid weevil Cathormiocerus spinosus. A brilliantly camouflaged species feeding at the roots of plants on gravelly ground.

Two nationally scarce beetles from the moth trap! Left: Colydiid Aulonium trisulcus, usually found in the feeding galleries of Elm bark beetle larvae. Right: Dytiscid water beetle Rhantus frontalis.

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The exquisitely coloured Curculionid weevil Hypera nigrirostris. Widespread in England on Red Clover.

From left to right: Nationally scarce Curculionid weevil Mecinus circulatus. Nationally scarce Chrysomelid Calomicrus circumfusus. Curculionid weevil Rhinoncus castor, associated with Sheep’s Sorrel. Carabid Amara tibialis, distinctive due to its small size (c.5mm) and deep double streaks on each half of the pronotum.

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Brian Eversham’s photo of the Carabid (Ground beetle) Carabus granulatus. Although quite common, it’s a real jewel of a beetle, and nearly an inch long!

Diptera: 7 new species, bringing my total to 134. I’m certain I should be making more of an effort with flies! My latest addition was the large Tachinid Nowickia ferox.

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Nowickia ferox, a common Tachinid fly.

Lepidoptera- Moths: After an amazing June moth trapping in the garden, new species slowed considerably in July. Luckily, the garden in Dorset was amazing, and gave loads of new stuff over the first two nights. 29 new species, bringing my total to a nice round 600! All of the best new moths came from Dorset, and here are a few of them.

Left: Nationaly scarce A Four-spotted Footman (Lithosia quadra) male. Right: An amazingly fresh example of a Rosy Footman (Miltochrista miniata).

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Dingy Mocha (Cyclophora pendularia), a Red Data Book and BAP priority species restricted almost entirely to damp heathlands in Dorset and Hampshire.

Left: Nationally scarce micro moth Synaphe punctalis. Right: Small Mottled Willow (Spodoptera exigua), a somewhat uncommon immigrant species.

Insects- Remaining small orders: 4 new species, bringing my total to 28. All lacewings, the most recent being Nineta flava shown below.

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Nineta flava, a large lacewing (c.20mm) associated with Oaks. It has a distinctive concave outer edge to the forewing.

So with those 170 new species, and my end of year goal of 1000 new species exceeded, where next? Well I’ve decided to try and reach an overall total of 4000 by the end of the year, so I need to find another 247 species! Its amazing to think that I started my pan-species list last August on 2420, and I’m already headed towards 4000. It goes to show the amazing diversity of life that can be discovered.

 

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