Invertebrate news 2009
Featuring news and sightings from Eakring and Sherwood Forest
In most cases, clicking on the photos will link to larger images
Western Conifer Seed Bug - a first for Nottinghamshire

The Western Conifer Seed Bug is a large North American species. It was recorded in Italy in 1999, possibly via imported timber and has since spread rapidly, appearing in the UK for the first time in 2007 at Weymouth College (Ford, B.)
There were further records during the latter part of 2008, with most records coming from MV moth traps operated along the south and south-east coasts. Adults even reached inland, with the most northerly being at Kendal (Petley-Jones, R.) Nearer to Nottinghamshire, there were records from Quorn in Leicestershire (Gamble, P.) and at Charlesworth in Derbyshire (recorder unknown) There have recently been more reports of this bug at MV light since early September 2009.

This adult however, appears to be the first Nottinghamshire record. It was found by Mrs Moira Worthington at Eakring, on the bedroom curtains on September 27th 2009. Thankfully, she emailed a picture to us for identification and retained the specimen.

The Western Conifer Seed Bug is a Nearctic pest of conifer seed nurseries and records currently have to be sent to DEFRA. There are no records of this bug breeding in the wild state as yet, but this is considered to be very likely, due to it's rapid colonistation and spread across Europe within ten years.
Two new Arachnids for Sherwood

Two new spiders have been recorded at Sherwood Forest recently, both of which seem to be new to the NNR.

Based on the invertebrate lists we are collating and maintaining, there are currently no records of either Alopecosa barbipes or Cheiracanthium virescens. Both species were found in late September on Budby South Forest.

  First record of Privet Hawk-moth at Eakring

Two full grown Privet Hawk-moth larvae found at Eakring Flash on September 17th, represent the first record of this large Hawk-moth at Eakring, ending many years searching and hoping one would eventually come to the light trap.

Privet Hawk-moth has been found in the Newark area for years now, but seems to have been spreading westwards since about 2007, with records from Southwell, Norwell and Wellow Wood in 2008, Caunton, Wellow and now Eakring in 2009.

Privet Hawk-moth also takes the area moth list to a total of 633.

More new Coleoptera for Sherwood Forest NNR

During the second half of August, we have spent much time catching and identifying the various species of water beetles at one of the NNR's few areas of permanent water on Budby South Forest.

At the end of the month, another 12 new beetles had been added to the list. The recording of Water Beetles has been totally neglected in the NNR previously, with none recorded from Sherwood historically at all.
Migrant butterflies begin to move through

Early August has seen the start of Painted Ladies moving south through Nottinghamshire. At Eakring, the first were noted on August 6th, when three went south. This was followed on August 8th by a further 12 south, but movement proper, seems to have commenced on August 9th and featured several other species.

Totals for a two hour count on the 9th included 93 Painted Lady, 109 Large White, 47 Peacock, five Small White and three Red Admiral all heading south-west across open fields. Movement for all species was direct. Peacock is not a species known for it's migratory tendencies, but was seen in numbers, during similar movements in August 2003.

Migrant Hoverflies

There seems to be much larger than normal numbers of one of our most common hoverflies around at the moment, which seems indicative of a recent migration into the UK.

Episyrphus balteatus
is the main species involved, with large counts of several hundreds at most sites we have visitied recently, including Eakring, Budby South Forest and Warsop Main Pit Top. Most flowers are adorned with this species presently. Although Episyrphus balteatus is a native species, numbers are augmented by migrants most years.

Another genuine migrant hoverfly around at the moment (early August) is the easily identified Scaeva pyrastri, which is shown in the above left photograph. We have noted several adults (mostly one's and two's) at all the previously mentioned sites. It is a fairly large species which is characteristically marked and the eyes are covered in very fine hairs. Large numbers have also been recorded at some east coast sites.
Is the Harlequin Ladybird really a threat?

The forecasted threat of the Harlequin Ladybird has still yet to appear on our local Ladybird populations, despite it being present in Nottinghamshire since 2006. Whilst it has soon spread rapidly across the county, subsequent years have seen it fail to make the huge impact on the populations of our native species that were widely predicted at the time.

We have also yet to see any direct observations of Harlequin adults or larvae eating the larvae of other species. Although this is likely to happen occasionally in times of severe shortages of Aphids, it is probably no more likely than the full grown larva of another species, eating a smaller larva of the same or different species. The only instance we have ever seen of larval cannibalism, concerned a 7-spot larva eating a pre-pupating 7-spot larva at Warsop Main Pit Top back in 2006.

Many of the stories of larval cannibalism have been from larvae kept in the confines of captivity and there is still no accurate data to back-up the supposed Harlequin threat from observations in the field, where there is much greater natural food availability and considerably less likelihood of larva meeting larva.

So far in 2009, Harlequins have just started to appear in better numbers (July 20th) and although there are obvious concentrations of adults, Harlequin counts at all the sites we monitor fairly regularly, are still considerably well below those currently attained by the 7-spot Ladybird. Like all our other native Ladybirds, the Harlequin also suffered a large reduction in numbers during the wet Summers of 2007 and 2008.

  Ladybird numbers increasing

Based on our own counts and observations, 2009 is certainly the best year for most Ladybirds since 2006. A series of very wet Summers meant that the large numbers of adults we recorded at Hare Hill Wood near Kersall, Warsop Main Pit Top and at several other local sites, were not to be repeated.

Late in 2008, there were signs of an increase and this has continued and gained momentum throughout this Spring. 7-spot Ladybirds are doing particularly well, with flowering grasses in areas of both Sherwood Forest CP and Eakring Flash currently holding 100's of both larvae and adults. Other species which have done very well at Sherwood include Cream-spot Ladybird and 16-spot Ladybird, whilst Pine (often the commonest) and Orange Ladybirds have yet to be recorded in anything other than single figure counts.

Welsh Clearwing update

By the end of June 2009, casual surveys using pheremone lures, have revealed that the moth is clearly more widespread at Sherwood Forest CP, than was first thought.

The Country Park area is currently broken into 23 working areas C1 - C22a. Moths have now been recorded from at least five of these now, plus a single record from Budby South Forest, where it does seem to be restricted at present. Males have been attracted to lures from between 10:00h, to as late as 15:42h. A total of 46 males have been recorded to date.
  BBC film crew visit Sherwood Forest

We recently spent six hours filming a short feature about Glow Worms with presenter Mike Dilger for BBC1's The ONE Show. By the time we all left the Clipstone Old Quarter site, it was nearly 2am.

The whole event was an extremely enjoyable one to take part in and provided a real insight into television production. Filming Glow Worms and especially to try and capture the real beauty of their light for TV, proved to be difficult, but ultimately proved to be successful.

One of the cameras used was a Starlight camera, which was a remarkable piece of equipment and which was employed after dark, to record one glowing female in particular.

Welsh Clearwing at Budby SF and latest Sherwood records

Male Welsh Clearwings have continued to be attracted to pheremone lures in the immediate vicinity of Gary Joynt's original sighting back in 2008.

Rob Woodward and several others were on site on June 13th and attracted a further four males, whilst we recorded a single male there on June 12th. Another visiting entomologist also recorded two males from the same area, earlier in the day.

We have also started surveying other areas of the Sherwood Forest NNR and recorded a single male at another site in Sherwood Forest CP on June 13th and had two males to lures in one area of Budby South Forest on June 14th.

Yellow-legged Clearwing latest

There have also been additional records of Yellow-legged Clearwing at Sherwood Forest CP. Rob Woodward et al, attracted at least one on June 13th, whilst we had our first on June 12th.

All these records have come from one area so far, but we recorded four males from two areas of Budby South Forest on June 13th and two from another area of Budby South Forest on June 14th.
Recent new Coleoptera at Sherwood Forest CP

Further new beetle species found in the Sherwood Forest NNR area recently, include Chrysolina staphylaea, Ontholestes murinus, Aphodius haemorrhoidalis and Agriotes sputator. All records have come from the Sherwood Forest CP area.
Welsh Clearwing again at Sherwood Forest CP

Following Sherwood's first ever record of Welsh Clearwing by Gary Joynt in July 2008, the moth has again been attracted to pheremone lures operated by Rob Woodward on June 2nd and then again by Sherwood Forest Ranger Gary Joynt on June 5th.

On both occasions, three males were attracted to the lures and in the same location as the 2008 record.

It is most likely that this species is found throughout the Sherwood Forest CP area, as we found a Welsh Clearwing pupal exuvia in another area of open Birch woodland. Further searching has also revealed numerous old exit holes, which are believed to be those of Welsh Clearwing.

Yellow-legged Clearwing also at Sherwood Forest CP

Rob Woodward also attracted three male Yellow-legged Clearwing to lures on June 2nd. This is another follow-up record for Sherwood , following one over 130 years ago in 1877
(Dennis, G. and Simmons, C.W.)

This quite graphically illustrates how species can remain completely undetected on a site for decades and are presumed to be extinct.
Painted Ladies decrease

Painted Ladies still continuing to move through Eakring this afternoon. A one hour sample count, again divided into five minute periods, produced a maximum of 24 through between 16:05 and 16:10h.

The majority of butterflies were heading more or less into the wind today and going north-east, but there were smaller numbers which continued to fly west. 191 through in an hour, would still represent an amazing Spring count, away from 2009.
More Painted Ladies

Painted Lady butterflies continued to move through Eakring on the afternoon of May 29th, although in much reduced numbers than the previous afternoon.

Movements today were generally straight WNW, but there appeared to be a definite south-easterly movement into the wind today, something that was not noted yesterday. A total of 728 Painted Ladies were recorded.

We again made counts of five minute periods from 14:25-15:50h. There was also a distinct decline in movement throughout the watch. Numbers peaked between 60 and 70 per five minutes, between 14:35 and 15:05h, dropping to between 38 and 45 from 14:55 and 15:30h. The last four five minute counts produced counts between 12 and 21, so there was a clear drop in movement. Movements in the south of the UK appear to have dried up, but Painted Ladies are still continuing to move further north.

The Huge Painted Lady arrival/movement continues

A total of 1 414 Painted Ladies moved through Eakring on the afternoon of May 28th. We watched across a 100 metre stretch of open field between 15:20 and 17:20h, completing counts every five minutes.

There were three five minute periods when three figure counts occurred, with a maximum of 140 Painted Ladies through between 15:50 and 15:55h.

There was some evidence that numbers were higher when it was sunny. Even given the Cumulus nature of the cloud this afternoon, periods of cloudiness were brief, but movement was significantly lowered and several Painted Ladies were noted being tempted to halt movement by dropping into the cornfield.

  More new Coleoptera for Sherwood Forest

Regular coverage of the Sherwood Forest CP area, is continuing to provide new species for the site and NNR.

The following species are new :- Cytilus sericeus, Crepidodera aurata,
Tetrops praeustus, Tropiphorus elevatus, Sitona striellus and Sitona regensteinense . Two other new species for the NNR are Tachyporus atriceps and Ceutorhynchus pallidactylus, both of which were from Clipstone Old Quarter.

The following species records are the first for over 100 years. These include:- Lasiorhynchites cavifrons (shown left) Hedobia imperialis and Agriotes obscurus at Sherwood Forest CP and Hylastes ater at Clipstone Old Quarter.

Hazel Pot Beetle again at Sherwood Forest NNR

The RDB1 Hazel Pot Beetle (Cryptocephalus coryli) has again been found at Sherwood Forest CP. Rediscovered at the site for the first time in at least 70 years at the end of May 2008, four adults were found on May 10th, which is somewhat earlier than had been expected.

One pleasing aspect, is that two females were noted on both bushes on which adults were found last year and which are presumably utilised by the beetle each Spring.

Another exciting discovery, is that adults have also been found outside the colony's predicted limits. Survey work is currently being undertaken, to search for C. coryli and help determine the beetle's range on site, but the early results are more than exceeding any expectations.
Recent Coleoptera at Sherwood Forest NNR

Regular visits to the Sherwood Forest area, namely Sherwood Forest CP and Budby South Forest (Birklands and Bilhaugh SSSI) and Clipstone Old Quarter (Birklands West and Ollerton Corner SSSI) have proved productive, with several new species for the site and species recorded for the first time in many years.

One of the most attractive species found, has been several adults of the leaf beetle Chrysolina polita (shown right) found on low vegetation at one site in the forest. The striking Rove Beetle Ontholestes tessellatus was just one of a range species which were attracted to carrion (rarely found in the forest) at Clipstone Old Quarter. Although not entirely pleasant to deal with, carrion (a dead cat in this instance) proved to be a relative gold mine for species,which would perhaps be very difficult to find otherwise.

Sherwood Forest CP Clipstone Old Quarter Budby South Forest
Pterostichus vernalis First record    
  Agonum muelleri First record  
    Amara convexior First record
  Amara plebeja First record  
  Anisodactylus binotatus First record  
  Tachyporus solutus First since 1912  
  Ontholsestes tessellatus First record  
  Aphodius ater First record  
  Aphodius luridus Second record  
Melolontha melolontha Second record    
  Byrrhus fasciatus Second record  
Kibunea minuta Third record    
  Dermestes undulatus First record  
Rhizophagus nitidulus Third record    
    Silvanus unidentatus First since 1963
Chrysolina polita First record    
  Apion frumentarium First record  
Perapion violaceum First for 100 years    
    Exapion ulicis First for 100 years
  Otiorhynchus sulcatus First for 100 years  
Decline in the range of Coleoptera at Sherwood Forest NNR

It appears that there has been a considerable decline in the range of beetles found at Sherwood Forest NNR since the early 1900's. Based on the database of records we have built, a total of 377 species have disappeared since Carr's book was published in 1916.

This is slightly compensated by the fact that 156 new species have currently been recorded on site since 2000. Climate change, forest management and public pressures created by increase use, have no doubt all contributed to the loss of many species, but with much of the forest's coleoptera being extremly small, coupled by few people actually searching and recording the forest's fauna, must mean that many species considered lost, may well yet be rediscovered.
Pale Pinion taken Sherwood Forest

A moth new to Nottinghamshire a couple of years ago, the Pale Pinion seems to be continuing it's recent colonisation of the county, when we recorded an adult at MV light from Sherwood Forest CP on April 10th.
First record of Hylastes ater since early 1900's

An adult Hylastes ater (a weevil of the subfamily Scolytinae) found under the bark of a section of felled Pine at Clipstone Old Quarter, was the first Sherwood Forest NNR record for around a hundred years.
Record numbers of Mottled Grey at Sherwood Forest NNR

Although not Nottinghamshire's most attractive moth, the Mottled Grey is a rather scarce Nottinghamshire moth. It is not usually attracted to MV light traps in any numbers and since 2003, most of the county's records have come from Clumber Park and the Buck Gates area of Thoresby, which forms part of the Birklands West and Ollerton Corner SSSI.

Many of these records have regarded single adults, but on March 22nd, in an open area of grassy heathland within Sherwood Forest CP, a total of 46 adults came to a light trap.

Numerous adults were also found on grass stems within the area, so this must represent an extremely healthy population. The larvae feed on Lady's Bedstraw and Heath Bedstraw, so other sites such as Budby South Forest and Sherwood Heath, should also hold good populations.


Mottled Grey

Exapion ulicis and Amara convexior at Sherwood Forest NNR

Several adults of the Gorse Weevil Exapion ulicis, were found on Budby South Forest on March 15th.

This is the first record for Sherwood Forest NNR in over a century. The reserve also recorded another new Carabid, when a single Amara convexior was found on one of the many paths running through Budby and the first Green Tiger Beetles of the year were also noted.
First Butterflies of 2009

Warm weather on March 15th, finally produced the first butterflies of 2009 at Eakring with singles of both Comma and Peacock at Eakring Flash.
High numbers of Yellow Horned at Sherwood Forest

Moth trapping within Sherwood Forest CP, is producing some excellent results. March has seen very high numbers of Yellow Horned, with 56 attracted to MV light on March 11th, followed by 119 on March 14th.

Both trapping sessions lasted for just under two hours. Oak Beauty is another moth appearing in numbers (relative to Eakring) but this can be expected when trapping in such ideal habitat.

Oak Beauty

Yellow Horned

Oak Beauty and Yellow Horned at MV light

First Glow Worm larva of 2009

Searching for Carabids at Clipstone Old Quarter near Edwinstowe, provided an unexpected highlight on March 9th, with an active Glow Worm larva.

The larva was found under several pieces of old bark lying on slightly open ground and surrounded by a thin covering of Brambles. The larvae was around 22mm in length and was feeding on a snail when found. Searches also provided a new beetle for Sherwood Forest NNR, with a single Agonum muelleri.
Unusual ratio of red colour form Silpha atrata at Eakring Meadows NR

Whilst searching for over-wintering Carabids underneath the bark of some felled Willows at Eakring Meadows NR on March 1st, a total of 13 Silpha atrata were also found. Silpha atrata is a member of the Silphidae family (more commonly grouped as burying beetles) It is a common species of woodland areas, where it feeds on snails.

At Sherwood Forest NNR, Silpha atrata is common and often found in numbers under moss at the base of trees and also under bark on felled logs during the Autumn. The vast majority of the adults found at Sherwood Forest are of the typical black form and were found to outnumber the red form, by a ratio 60 to 1, during surveys conducted there in October 2008. Yet out of the 13 adults found at Eakring Meadows, all were surprisingly of the red form. It may be possible to perform more accurate ratio counts later in the year.

Two new micro moths for Sherwood Forest NNR

Moth trapping at various locations within Sherwood Forest during February, have resulted in two new micros for the site, with an Acleris cristana attracted to MV light on February 23rd and an Acleris hastiana on February 27th.
First record of Rhizophagus nitidulus at Sherwood since 1983

Whilst moth trapping, we are continuously checking nearby trunks and fallen branches for Coleoptera. This regularly proves to be productive and we recorded the first Rhizophagus nitidulus
(Nationally notable Grade B) at Sherwood since 1983 on February 27th.
Lesser Stag Beetle at Eakring Meadows

A male Lesser Stag Beetle (Dorcus parallelepipedus) was found under a large section of Ash, along with the Staphilinid Bolitobius cingulatus on February 26th.
New Carabid for Sherwood Forest NNR

A single Notiophilus substriatus found on Budby South Forest on a sunny and mild February 21st, surprisingly represented a new species for either of the two SSSI's which make up Sherwood Forest NNR.

This is a relatively common species, but which is often present in much smaller numbers than the much commoner Notiophilus biguttatus. It prefers open ground with short, sparse vegetation and is often recorded from urban areas.
  Other known Notiophilus species found at Sherwood Forest NNR include N. aquaticus (first record also from Budby South Forest in 2008) N. biguttatus, N. palustris and N. rufipes (first record from the Buck Gates area of Birklands and Bilhaugh SSSI in 2008 by C. Lavers)

First Ground Beetles of 2009

Milder weather on February 15th, meant that it was worthwhile searching for over-wintering beetles underneath logs at Eakring Meadows.

This proved to be quite productive for Ground Beetles (Carabidae), with records of 15+ Pterostichus vernalis, and three new species for the area - a single Anchomenus dorsalis, five Bembidion biguttatum and six Oxypselaphus obscurus. In addition, there were also two Rove Beetles (
Staphylinidae) which included a Sepedophilus (probably S. marshami) and an unidentified Othius species.