Friday, 13 April 2012

Have you seen ........?

An article by Heather Martin

UPDATE 20/04/2012
I photographed this hairy fly sunning itself in our wood at the beginning of the week.
It is only the third sighting of Tachina ursina recorded in Sussex - East and West, probably a case of being overlooked and under-recorded rather than rare.
Like all members of the family Tachinidae the larvae are likely to be internal parasites of other insects, most probably butterfly and moth larvae but I was unable to find any definite details. Tachina ursina flies from late March to early May around woodland margins. Keep looking in Rother - we might be able to add a few more records !

Anemone Cup fungus (Dumontinia tuberosa). These chestnut-brown cups are classified as infrequent to rare but are probably often overlooked. This is the time of year to search for them as they are found on bare ground with Wood Anemone, arising on long dark stems from black, irregular structures attached to old tubers of Anemone. The cups are fairly small, measuring a maximum of only 3cm. across when they have become flattened with age. The pretty, white Wood Anemone blooms are possibly distracting the eye away from a rather well camouflaged, little fungus.

13-spot Ladybird (Hippodamia 13-punctata). This orange-red ladybird landed on a sheet hanging on my washing line in Herstmonceux. It has a more oval and flattened shape than many species and until recently had been thought to be extinct in England. To quote the UK Ladybird Survey, "A rare and noteworthy ladybird that dies out in Britain and then recolonises from Europe." Sightings in Cornwall, Devon, the New Forest and now East Sussex suggest that the 13-spot is in the process of re-establishing itself. Peter Hodge the Beetle and Plant Bug Recorder for Sussex told me that the insect had last been recorded in this county in the Hastings district in 1952. It requires a wetland habitat, so parts of the Rother area should be ideal.

Moth Fly (Pericoma sp). To quote Patrick Roper, 'Rather few of these have been recorded from Sussex though they are probably present.' The hairy, almost fluffy flies that breed in decaying matter are minute - about 2mm long, so it is not surprising that they are overlooked! This one was sitting on a gate post in our wood. Another common name is Owl Midge.

Rove Beetle (Bolitobius cingulata) . Rove beetles are notoriously difficult to positively identify and very fast moving! The insect landed on Rodney's leg in a clearing in our wood so it was quickly put in a pot to photograph. It has a very distinctive colouration and can be distinguished from a similar species by the orange terminal segments of its antennae.

So keep looking in the Rother area - you never know what you might see!

See the Buglife Website for more information on Invertebrates

All pictures by Heather Martin 13/04/2012

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