Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Wonderful Weevil of Oz!

Last week, I was undecided about going to the Devon Bryophyte Group field meeting last Saturday at Brook Manor just outside Buckfastleigh seeing as I have a huge backlog of specimens to attend to and did not really fancy adding to it. That was until Nicola kindly asked me if I wanted to go and it turned out to be well worth going. Three healthy tubes full of samples (oh gawd) currently reside in the freezer awaiting initial processing but I focussed on an interesting weevil found by a small woodland stream lined with ferns.

It proved quite a frustrating specimen to get a handle on. Several scans of the images in the hefty German weevil book drew a blank. I began to think it was a specimen that had lost the majority of it's scales and looked for similarly shaped specimens in said book in vain but somehow it prompted me to pick up Mike Morris' True Weevils (Part One) and it keyed out very easily to Syagrius intrudens.

This is an Australian species that is probably extinct there and is now only found in the UK thanks in likelihood to gardeners and their penchant for exotic ferns. Googling the internet for this species found a similar experience by Mark Telfer and Graeme Lyons here....... A non-native endemic!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A Fly That Plays Bad Golf!

The uglier a man's legs are, the better he plays golf. It's almost a law.” - H. G. Wells

During a recent intense field week in sunny Kent with some wonderful members of the Dipterists Forum there were many superb flies recorded. One target species was found by Martin Drake at South Swale and Rob Wolton at Rushenden Marshes.

This was a Dolichopodidae fly species with superb legs sported by the male called Campsicnemus magicus. This species justifiably adorns the front cover of The Dipterists Handbook by Peter Chandler and I leave you with a couple of images of one of the specimens.

The uglier a man's legs are, the better he plays golf - it's almost a law.
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The uglier a man's legs are, the better he plays golf - it's almost a law.
Read more at:

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Supermicro Marvel

The Devon Fungi Group met up on Sunday at Deeper Marsh (Spitchwick Common) near Ashburton. As usual, I collected some invertebrates by way of the trusty sweep net. Whilst sorting the sample back home under the stereo microscope, I noticed a speck of dirt was not quite so. It was the tiniest rove beetle I had ever seen at just about 1.75mm long.

Out came the key to have a go at it and it wasn't easy seeing the fine detail required at 40x as optical quality degrades the higher you zoom in but I managed it. It is actually quite a common species, Anotylus tetracarinatus. Nice one.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

A Snazzy Micro Moth.

                      A few days ago, I noticed one of my well watched pots of leaves had a micro moth rapidly crawling all over inside. At first, it was simply a relief not to see a parasitic wasp as they are beyond my identification skills. Closer examination got me rather excited as it was a very smart moth and one that did not take long to determine. It was Phyllonorycter acerifoliella and it had emerged from a fold in the edge of a Field Maple leaf. Not bad for starting the lepidoptera records for the year with and a new one to boot.