Invertebrate news 2008
Featuring news and sightings from Eakring
In most cases, clicking on the photos will link to larger images
 
Record moth catches at MV light Despite greatly reduced numbers of most species across the UK, several evening's trapping at Lound Wood at the end of July produced record numbers of both moths and species. A huge total of 1 039 moths of 102 species were trapped on July 30th, with 645 moths of 103 species trapped on July 28th. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of Black Arches recorded at the same site, with a current maximum of seven on August 1st.  
     
First records of Golden-rod Pug The area's first Golden-rod Pugs were identified through photographic evidence recently. The moth has since proved to be fairly regular at light, but most of the records so far, have been of the melanic form. Golden-rod Pug is a species which is extremely difficult to ID by external characteristics alone, but close examination of the underside of eigth abdominal section of several Lound Wood males, showed the characteristic sclerotized plate unique to this species. All male Pugs can be identified in this way.
     
Lound Wood Carabids A quick (and first ever) search for ground beetles at Lound Wood, revealed the following species of large ground beetles (Carabidae) underneath several logs, Abax parallelepipedus, Pterostichus niger and Cychrus caraboides.
     
Black Arches for second year running It looks certain now that the Black Arches has successfully colonised Lound Wood at Eakring, with two males trapped there on July 22nd confirming this. Last year saw the return of this handsome moth to Nottinghamshire, after an absence of 30 years, when we trapped an adult on July 31st 2007. Interestingly, another was trapped the next night at Ravenshead, so this moth could well turn up at other sites within the county during the next few weeks.
     
Set-aside strips proving invaluable to attracting new insects Just one of a range of new insects, recorded in the area for the first time this year is the Bishop's Mitre - an attractively marked shieldbug, which had been looked for many times in recent years and was found on the evening of June 16th. Three were found in long grass along one of the many permanent set-aside strips at Eakring Flash, which were planted several years ago by Michael and James Meanley of Ryall's Farm in Eakring. Bishop's mitre is a common shieldbug of many grassy areas in the county.  
     
First Brown Argus at Eakring since 2004 A Brown Argus on one of the permanent set-aside strips near Lound Wood, was the first record here for five years. The butterfly has proved to be extremely elusive despite searching in the last few years, so this find was extremely welcome.
     
First Damselfly of the year A teneral Large Red Damselfly was seen at Eakring Flash on May 11th. Previous first dates for this species have been 12/05/07 (exuvia) 11/05/06, 03/05/05 and 20/05/04.
     
3rd and 4th records of Pale Pinion at Eakring Two Pale Pinion arrived at the MV trap on May 10th and represent the 3rd and 4th Eakring records. Back in 2005, a Pale Pinion trapped at Lound Wood was the first for Nottinghamshire and there were more records from around the county in 2007. This species seems to be increasing it's range, in a similar fashion to Grey Shoulder-knot a few years ago.
     
Two new moths make it 600 species Attracted to MV light at Lound Wood on May 9th and 10th, single adults of Flame Carpet and Barred Hook-tip, finally took the Eakring area moth list to 600 species after ending last season on 598 species. There has been a large increase in the number of species on the wing since May 8th, but actual moth numbers are still quite low.  
     
Moth numbers Trapping results during the early months of the year, have shown a variation in the numbers of common species appearing at the trap. At the extremes were record numbers of the micro Diurnea fagella, whilst the Satellite (one of the most regular early macros) has not been seen at all. The very wet weather which followed a fine dry early Spring in 2007, would mean a high mortality rate of many eggs and larvae and that numbers of many of the Summer flying moths will be low this year. It was expected that moths which do fly during the early months of the year, might not have been affected to the same degree. But clearly this has not been the case and that most species have suffered.  
     
Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell Numbers of Peacock butterflies in the area, seem to be slightly higher than last year, but there have been greatly reduced numbers of Small Tortoiseshell about so far.
     
Early Bumble Bees and butterflies The first Bumble Bees of the year were recorded at Eakring Flash (Queen Bombus terrestis) on 13/03/08, followed by several Queen B. terrestis at Hare Hill Wood and two worker B. pratorum at both Eakring Flash and Hare Hill Wood on 14/03/08. Butterflies seen on this latter date included three Comma and single Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell.
     
Pale Oak Beauty at Eakring in 2007 Recent information from Sheila Wright, Nottinghamshire's macro moth recorder, has put a much greater significance on the occurrences of the Pale Oak Beauty at Eakring in 2007, when we recorded single adults at MV light from Lound Wood on 4th, 11th and 16th of June. It now seems that prior to our Eakring records, there was only one modern Nottinghamshire record, coming from Misterton in the early 1980's. Sheila Wright describes the Pale Oak Beauty "as being exceptionally rare in Nottinghamshire, and rare in the Midlands area in general ".  
     
First ladybird counts of 2008 The first ladybirds of the year included 11 adult 7-spots, eight Harlequins and a single Pine Ladybird at Hare Hill Wood on February 9th. The Harlequins included a group of seven under loose bark and on the same Elm as some were found on, in the January of last year. Another was found with a single 7-spot Ladybird inside a dead Hemlock (Conium maculatum) stem.
     
Early Red Admiral for second consecutive year A surprising first butterfly of 2008 was not the expected Peacock or Small Tortoiseshell, but a Red Admiral noted near Tug Bridge Farm on February 9th. The date is extremely similar to that of last year (February 4th 2007) but unlike last year, there has been no early Red Admiral immigration into the UK so far.  
     
First hoverflies at Hare Hill Wood A sunny and pleasantly warm morning, saw the first hoverflies of the year with singles of Eristalis pertinax and Eristalis tenax.
     
Hare Hill Wood Harlequin and 7-spot Ladybird data for 2007 2007 represented an extremely bad year for many insects. Among those groups most severely affected were ladybirds, including the notorious Harlequin Ladybird. This beetle has had such a bad press (which may well be justified one day?) yet it was affected by the poor weather experienced during the Summer of 2007, much the same as the commoner species.
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Early November 2006 saw a peak count of 151 adult Harlequins at Hare Hill Wood near Kersall. Large numbers of 7-spot Ladybirds were found in conspicuous over-wintering sites over the following months, reaching a large peak count of 1 142 adults in early March 2007. Between these dates, we searched relentlessly for over-wintering Harlequin Ladybirds (with only occasional records of single adults on dead Spear Thistle, Creeping Thistle or Rosebay Willowherb) eventually finding just six with large numbers of 2-spot Ladybirds, underneath loose bark on a small, dead Elm on the southern-edge of Hare Hill Wood in January 2007.  
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Large numbers were expected to be at Hare Hill Wood during the Summer of 2007, but Harlequins were difficult to find. June, July and August all produced zero counts. A similar situation occurred with the 7-spot Ladybird, which also suffered a huge drop in numbers during the Summer. We found this astonishing after such a high count in March and even this ladybird was hard to find during the Summer. With an improvement in the weather during September, more adults of each species began to appear and although the above graph shows a large reduction in the Harlequin/7-spot population ratios, it remains to be seen whether this is short or long term.
     
Click Beetle finally identified A click beetle we recorded several times during the late Summer and early Autumn of 2007, has finally been identified as Stenagostus rhombeus. Attracted to MV light during moth trapping sessions at Lound Wood. S. rhombeus is one of 65 UK species belonging to the Elateridae group. It is a large click beetle and a local species in the UK, favouring woodland within lowland pasture.  
     
First insects of 2008 at Lound Wood The first insects of the year were recorded during a moth trapping session at Lound Wood on January 26th. 75 moths (including a record 43 Spring Usher) were trapped at light in two hours, but a surprise was the Hawthorn Shieldbug, found on a nearby tree.  
     
 
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