Amidst the mayhem of ‘Brexit’ claim and counter claim and the call, nay plea for science, facts and evidence a group of us spent a pleasurable day learning about Auchenorrhyncha the other day. An introduction in a classroom type setting, a field session at a nearby peat / fen land SSSI then back to the microscopes.
Some forty species of Hemiptera were recorded including uncommon species and species local to the Humberhead Levels.
As anticipated entomologists are often interested in more than one discipline so other taxon were recorded including odonata with an early Brachytron pratense being observed on Hawthorn blossom.
In terms of a biodiversity site inventory, we are building one up steadily with a good amount of very useful data. The site is certainly a promising one and we hope to undertake a mothing session soon and given the different habitat types present there is clearly potential for interesting species to be discovered from the site.
Zircrona caerulea aka ‘Blue Shieldbug’, the metallic hue on this specimen appears to favour green?
The work ongoing on this wetland site of considerable nature conservation interest is such that it has received funding for implementation of a Water Level Management Plan. Further to, this raises the issue of survey and monitoring pre and post implementation? Failure in either aspect raises the issue of evidencing value and impact of works? All too often in our opinion is the dash to spend the cash on engineering projects without first understanding or appreciating the assemblages present and their importance in national, regional or a local context.
Other survey work is ongoing on the periphery of Thorne Moors SSSI, again this work relates to fen habitat and species.
The danger or risk of using a vernacular or common name for a species is illustrated above by the Cocksfoot Moth nectaring on cardamine! To give it its scientific name of Glyphipterix simpliciella (Stephens) ensures that anyone in any country in the world is able to understand what species is being discussed.
Another species slightly off piece is Rhacognathus punctatus, or the Heather Shieldbug. This specimen was swept from an area of fen, some distance from any calluna so the moral of the story is perhaps twofold? Common names can risk confusion and invertebrates don’t read books ….
Images: Dolycoris baccarum, Zircona caerula and Glyphipterix simpliciella courtesy of Martin Warne, Rhacognathus punctatus H R Kirk.
Thanks also to Jim Flanagan and Stuart Foster for their excellent tuition and involvement with the workshop and field work which thus far has seen forty species logged, impressive for an afternoon ‘bug hunt’?