August PSL Review

It’s been another good month for Pan-species listing, with a surprisingly high 180 new additions to my list. My overall total is now 3933, with 1204 additions this calendar year, and 1513 new species since I compiled my list last August! I’m now not quite sure what my end of year target should be, but I hope to reach an overall total of at least 4000.

That’s the overview, so here are the usual facts, figures and photos from across the groups!

Fungi: At last a notable increase in my total for this group! 30 new species, bringing me up to 161 for the group. I’ve made a proper start on rusts and mildews. Though not the most glamorous of fungi, they’re often host plant specific, so I find them far easier to ID than most ‘macro’ fungi.

The powdery mildew Erysiphe orontii growing on Acanthus in my garden.

Bryophytes: It’s been a while since I’ve found anything new in this group, but the bryophyte season is now underway again. 2 new species added taking my group total to 199. The floating liverwort Riccia fluitans, and a hornwort- Anthoceros agrestis. Both quite localised species.

Vascular plants: A healthy 30 additions to my list, taking my total to 955 for the group. Ahead of my end of year target of 950. I wonder if I can manage to reach four figures by the end of the year… probably not! Mostly common stuff added, but a few nice things from a week in Dorset at the beginning of the month.

‘Common stuff’ first. Chenopodium polyspermum, the Many-seeded Goosefoot. Apparently frequent on waste ground, but overlooked by me until recently. Since getting my eye in, I’ve seen it several times!

Now for ‘nice things’. Ulex minor, Dwarf Gorse. Found in Dorset quite a lot. Definite ID relies on measurement of the various petals, but it seems rather scrawnier and softer than Ulex europaeus and gallii (Common and Western Gorse).
Erica ciliaris, Dorset Heath. Fairly frequent on heathlands… in Dorset. It’s also found in Cornwall and Devon, but I haven’t seen it there yet.

Arachnids: 6 new species found, my group total increased to 128. A few gall mites, the beautiful spider Arctosa perita, and a new pseudoscorpion- Lamprochernes nodosus, found in abundance by sieving a compost heap.

A pseudoscorpion- Lamprochernes nodosus.

Orthopteroids: I rarely seem to add species to this list, as I’ve seen most common species. 1 new species takes my group total to 25. Chorthippus vagans, the Heath Grasshopper.

Hemipteroids: 29 new additions taking my group total to 283. A good mix of heteroptera, leafhoppers, delphacids and the occasional psocid.

The scarce psocid Valenzuela atricornis, found at Woodwalton Fen. Unusual amongst psocids in that it is often found amongst low vegetation (as opposed to in trees or shrubs).

Left to right: The mirid bug Europiella artemisiae, fairly easily swept from Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). The berytid bug (Stiltbug) Gampsocoris punctipes, often abundant on Restharrow (Ononis repens). The lygaeid bug Scolopostethus decoratus, found on heathland at RSPB Arne.

The lygaeid bug Gastrodes grossipes. This species lives mostly in pine cones, so can be beaten (albeit with some effort) from Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris). It’s an amazingly flat bug, so easily slots itself into the small gaps available in pine cones.
My new favourite delphacid (we’ve all got one, right?)! The crazy looking Asiraca clavicornis. This species is found in dry grasslands and areas of vegetated waste ground. It is increasing again after a period of decline, perhaps due to climate change.

Hymenoptera: 9 new species, bringing me up to 119 for the group. Almost all solitary bees, of which I have no good photos. Megachile ligniseca at Holme Fen was one of the highlights for me.

Coleoptera: The beetle season is very much past its best now, but I still managed 27 new species, taking my group total to 501. Below are a few of my favourites.

Onthophagus similis, a really cool looking dung beetle that I saw flying by and landing on the coast path in Dorset.

Left to right: Protapion ononidis, fairly widespread on Restharrow (Ononis repens) but doesn’t seem very abundant. I had to sweep about 20 plants to find just one! Omphalapion hookerorum, another Apionid, this time associated with Tripleurospermum species of Mayweed. Finally, Mr and Mrs Pseudapion rufirostre, found on Malva spp Mallows. The male has an orange rostrum, so it looks a bit like it has a cold.

This somewhat unremarkable looking beetle is the Anthribid weevil Bruchela rufipes, which I found new to Huntingdonshire on Wild Mignonette (Reseda lutea). It is scarce, but slowly spreading in South-eastern England.
Beetle number 500 on my list! The Nitidulid Pocadius ferrugineus, found inside a Puffball!

Diptera: 11 new species, my group total now 145. Mostly leafminers.

Lepidoptera- Moths: A decent 34 additions to the list, total now 634. Holiday in Dorset at the beginning of the month helped greatly, plus a few leafminers towards the end of the month.

Two of the best from Dorset. Left: Cydia amplana, a scarce migrant. Right: Metalampra italica, a rare recent colonist to Britain, with relatively unknown status

Gold Spot (Plusia festucae) from my garden trap. A fairly common species, just not one which had previously turned up for me!

Birds: 1 new species! Hoping for many more in September. White-winged Black Tern at Grafham Water. Distant and mobile, so no photos.

September will have me travelling back to Cornwall, which I hope will benefit all of my lists! The insect season will be drawing to a close, but lichens, bryophytes, fungi, birds and marine life will be going strong, so I hope to keep adding species until university work takes over!

3 thoughts on “August PSL Review”

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