Invertebrate news 2011
Featuring news and sightings from Eakring and Sherwood Forest
In most cases, clicking on the photos will link to larger images or related pages
Huge numbers of 7-spot and Harlequin Ladybirds

Early November has seen us record some huge numbers of both 7-spot and Harlequin Ladybirds at many sites. The best numbers came on a warm afternoon at Warsop Wood on 06/11/11, when our conservative estimates of numbers of both species were 3 000 7-spots and 2 000 Harlequins.

This was the first time that we recorded a large aggregation of Harlequins, found in two groups under a section of felled Beech log. A week later, this aggregate had swelled to approximately 264 adults.

Harlequins were particularly attracted to the light trunks of Beech trees on site, whilst 7-spots were found on virtually all types of vegetation at or near ground level.

Duponchelia fovealis - a new Pyralid moth for Nottinghamshire.

You never know where something will turn up, but it was still surpriising when this Duponchelia fovealis was found freshly emerged on the skirting board of a room in a Mansfield nursing home on 14/10/11 and was the first ever record for Nottinghamshire.

It almost certainly originated as a larva brought in on a bunch of cut flowers, that had been present in the room for three weeks.

Duponchelia fovealis is an adventive species with relatively few UK records, the first being as recently as 1996. Although a migrant species, most records in the UK are the result of accidental importation on cut flowers or house plants from southern Europe.

Hummingbird Hawk-moths on return migration

Hummingbird Hawk-moths have been noted regularly in our Market Warsop garden, with a series of adults nectaring briefly at Valerian. Early morning and late afternoon/evening seem to be the best times for them to drop in, with most recorded coming in from the north before flying off strongly south.

Our September and October records to date include two on September 18th at 14:10h and 18:50h; one on September 19th at 15:00h; two on September 21st at 06:45h and 12:45h; one on September 23rd at 18:50h; six on September 24th at 06:55h, 09:10h (2), 11:45h, 14:35h and 15:18h; three on September 25th at 08:15h and 18:50h (2); four on September 26th at 06:50h, 09:35h, 09:45h and 10:55h; one on September 28th at 18:45h; two on September 29th at 17:45h and 18:35h; one on October 1st at 06:49h; two on October 5th at 15:50h and 18:20h and one on October 7th at 15:20h. A total of 26 moths.

Other recent migrants included single Rusty Dot Pearls at MV light from Clipstone Old Quarter on 15/09/11, Sherwood Forest CP on 22/09/11 and another on 28/09/11 and Budby South Forest on 25/09/11 and another Hummingbird Hawk-moth at Burns Lane, Market Warsop on 01/10/11. Small numbers of Silver Y continue to nectar on Valerian in our garden, where we also had a single Painted Lady from 23/09/11-25/09/11, with one south over Budby South Forest on 01/10/11.

Some recent invertebrates new to Sherwood Forest NNR

The past few weeks have seen the additions of several new species, thought to be new to Sherwood.

These include the Harvestman Opilio canestrinii, which turned up whilst moth trapping at Sherwood Forest CP on 31/08/11 and Wax Moth
(Pyralidae) at Sherwood Forest CP 20/08/11. New Diptera include two Philophylla caesio (Tephritidae) at Sherwood Forest CP on 30/08/11 and several Dexiosoma caninum (Tachinidae) at Sherwood Forest CP on 30/07/11. The grass bug Megaloceroea recticornis (Miridae) was also found in numbers by sweeping at Sherwood Forest CP on 30/07/11
7-spot Ladybird numbers reach peak levels

The last few days of July and early August have seen very large numbers of 7-spot Ladybirds at many sites, possibly the largest recorded locally for several years.

Sites with a greater variety of trees such as Sycamore and Lime are especially affected by enormous numbers. We recently visited Rufford CP, to find one path littered with hundreds of 7-spot Ladybirds trampled beneath peoples feet.

It's not just the common 7-spot that has had a good year, as 14-spot Ladybirds are also around in higher than normal numbers. Even the Adonis Ladybird (Nb) is turning up at many sites, including brownfield sites where Fat Hen grows. Over the next few weeks, large numbers of Harlequin Ladybirds are likely and it is these that will probably get the most media coverage.

Scaeva pyrastri  in Nottinghamshire

There was an arrival of this attractive migrant hoverfly earlier on in July, but numbers have picked up more recently when there were five together (we normally just get singles) attracted to Valerian in our Market Warsop garden on July 31st.
Site record count of Yellow-legged Clearwing

Late July produced a new site count for male Yellow-legged Clearwings, when at least 29 were attracted within just over an hour early afternoon on July 30th.
Hummingbird Hawk-moths arrive in numbers

Late June and early July have seen numbers of migrant moths reach the UK. Included in this migration have been numerous reports of Hummingbird Hawk-moths. These day-flying moths are strongly attracted to the flowers of Valerian and Buddleia and our own recent sightings include the following records.

An adult nectaring at Valerian from 13:00h-13:04h at Market Warsop on 04/06/11; an adult nectaring at Valerian from 21:45h-21:49h at Market Warsop on 01/07/11; an adult briefly at 13:25h at the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre on 02/07/11; an adult nectaring at Valerian from 20:00h-20:05h at Market Warsop on 04/07/11; two different adults nectaring at Valerian from 10:03h-10:06h and 20:10h-20:14h at Market Warsop on 05/07/11 and a female at Valerian from 21:00h-21:15h, then going to roost at Market Warsop on 09/07/11.

Cardinal Beetle and an unseen hitchhiker

The accompanying photograph shows something that unfortunately wasn't noticed at the time it was taken. Or rather, what turned out to be on the antenna of this Pyrochroa coccinea, wasn't what we thought it was.

It was only when we uploaded the photographs onto the computer, did the hitchhiker become known... a Pseudoscorpion.

Pseudoscorpions (false scorpions) have been noted to hitch a lift on anything passing as a means of transport to new areas, but photographs such as this are unusual. We just wish they had been of better quality. Click on the image for larger images.

First Glow Worms of the year exceptionally early

We started our searches for adults on the very early date of May 7th. Although over a fortnight earlier than last years first date of May 24th 2010, we were optimistic that an extremely early date could be possible, in view of what is a very early season for many other invertebrates.

It took seven successive evenings before we found our first Glow Worm of the year on May 13th. Then we were amazed to find two more females glowing within three feet of each other in another section of the survey area. Although not the earliest UK date this year, this is still an extremely early start to the season.
Two new Cionus weevils to the Sherwood Forest NNR species list

A recent walk around Clipstone Old Quarter provided three excellent records from just one Figwort plant, growing along one of the forest tracks.

This one plant held about a dozen different Figwort weevils, but included Cionus alauda and Cionus hortulanus (both new for the NNR) and several Cionus scrophulariae, which hadn't been recorded since 1899. Cionus scrophulariae is the most common of the Figwort weevils we come across, being found almost anywhere Figwort grows locally.

  A unique survey for Cryptocephalus coryli

On May 9th 2011 we were able to conduct a rather unique survey with the very kind help of WKW Tree Services. The survey was based at tree top height, using a cherry picker operated by the extremely willing and very helpful Matt Vaughan.

At the end of six hours, a total of 14 C.coryli had been located, which was a new site record total despite the increasingly windy conditions. All but one were found at the very tops of mature Birches lining the southern edge of the favoured plantation, including one mating pair.

With the wind being so gusty at times, all of the beetles were slightly down the Birch stems, clinging on tightly in the manner we had noted only recently, even at lower levels when conditions are similar. In calm, sunny weather, adult coryli tend to sit on the middle of the leaf, usually along the mid-rib. Click the image for more details.
Increasing cases of parasitised 7-spot Ladybirds

We have noticed an increase in the number of parasitised 7-spot Ladybirds in recent weeks, with a rate of roughly around one in five ladybirds affected. We have yet to note any parasitisation among any other large ladybird species.

Parasitisation is due to the wasp Perilitus coccinellae, which is a parthenogenic endoparasitoid of adult ladybirds. After locating a suitable ladybird, the wasp lays a single egg between the ladybird's abdominal plates. On hatching, the larva eats the ladybird's fat store leaving the vital organs alone, but when ready to pupate, bites through the ladybird's six motor-neurones that control all leg movement.

 When ready to pupate, the larva breaks out of the host's abdomen and spins a cocoon between the host's legs. The ladybird cannot move but is still alive at this stage and it is believed that the ladybird's bright colours and reflex bleeding help protect the developing wasp until it emerges.

New record daily total of Cryptocephalus coryli

On May 4th, a concerted effort was made to check the higher branches of the mature Birches along the edge of the favoured plantation, resulting in a staggering total of 11 adults, including six females and five males.

Binoculars and a Kowa telescope were used to find and to sex any adults found, with one Birch alone, producing three males in close proximity to each other. Perhaps a more important discovery, was a male and female found in a new location, away from the known population.
      More early Cryptocephalus coryli

With the weather continuing to be very dry and warm throughout the end of April and into early May, conditions have been ideal (although technically still early) for finding further adult coryli.

But despite daily searches of varying lengths and times of day, it wasn't until May 1st that we were successful in finding a quick second and then third records following the very early male of April 23rd.

A female was located on Oak regrowth at 12:05h, but soon became active and flew high to the top of a large Birch nearby, later in the day followed by a male found on the lower branches of a large Birch at 15:40h. Two more females were found on May 2nd and a male and two females were located over 2 feet up two large Birches on May 3rd.

Two new additions to the Sherwood Forest NNR Diptera species list

Diptera have always been under-recorded within the Sherwood Forest NNR, but late April has seen the addition of two new species with the Crane Fly Tipula lateralis (Tipulidae) and the striking Phasia hemiptera (Tachinidae).

Phasia hemiptera is a known parasite of both Green Shieldbug and Forest Bug and is one of a small group of distinctive and often easily approached Tachinid flies. Phasias are quite easily identifiable in the field if seen well, being quite large and stocky flies, with the males often having well defined wing markings.

First Cryptocephalus coryli of 2011 found early

On a very warm and sunny April 23rd, that saw first records of the year of many beetles from Sherwood Forest Country Park, it was especially exciting to find what is certainly the earliest ever Cryptocephalus coryli from the NNR and possibly the first ever April record nationally.

The coryli (a male) was found freshly emerged on grass at 10:20h. As mentioned, there were several other species recorded for the first time this year including Agriotes pallidulus, Kibunea minuta, Paradromius linearis, Cytilus sericeus and Attelabus nitens.

Macrodema microterum

During a short visit to Sherwood Heath near Ollerton on April 16th, numerous tiny bugs were found and photographs obtained.

Identity was confirmed as being the ground bug Macrodema micropterum, a common heathland species with a length of only a few millimetres, but still surprising that this species was a first NNR record.
Early Tooth-striped new to the Sherwood Forest  NNR

Two Early Tooth-striped attrated to an MV light trap operated at Clipstone Old Quarter on April 15th, surprisingly represented yet another new species for the Sherwood NNR.

Three more were subsequently taken from the Country Park on April 18th.
More Oil Beetles found

The latest addition to the Sherwood NNR's coleoptera list has been found largely restricted to one small area at a site within the NNR.

We made several attempts to locate this beetle after it's discovery by Adrian Dutton and his wife on April 2nd 2011, and were eventually successful on our third visit on April 12th. We found ten beetles in one very small area, followed by another female well away from this, later found to be the same location as the original record.

Several other adults were found trodden on, but the colony seems to be reasonably well populated. How long Meloe proscarabaeus has been within the NNR is unknown, but it must clearly must have been present for several years at least. Oil Beetles cannot fly, so any population, may have been carried in by bees from several miles away. Work will be done to try and determine more on this beetle's status within the NNR, over the coming year. Oil Beetles are in decline across the UK with M. proscarabaeus currently described as vulnerable, thought possibly to be linked to the decline in many bee species.
Recent new invertebrates for the Sherwood NNR

Although still only early April, the Sherwood Forest NNR species list continues to grow with several new inverts recorded over the past week or so.

Perhaps most surprising was the Oil Beetle Meloe proscarabaeus, discovered at a site within the NNR by Adrian Dutton and his wife on April 2nd 2011. This followed a first record of Platyrhinus resinosus, found under a small log pile at Sherwood Heath the same day, whilst the Tachinid fly Tachina ursina, was recorded from the Country Park on March 24th.

Pammene giganteana and argyrana - two new micros for Sherwood

Two new micro moths have been added to the growing Sherwood Forest NNR species list.

Following the trapping of a small tortrix at a location within the Country Park on March 23rd 2011, the moth was identified the following day as Pammene giganteana, one of several similarly looking species, whose larva develop within Oak Galls. The second new moth, came purely as an oversight. When inputting the P. giganteana record into the database for the Sherwood NNR, it became clear that no records for Pammene argyrana were listed, despite being found by day back in 2006 and then trapped at MV light in April 2010.
First Glow Worm larvae of 2011

The first Glow Worm larvae of the year, have already been found at our usual study location of Clipstone Old Quarter.

This seems to be another species which has been unaffected by the cold weather during November and December 2010.
  Parasitic Wasp from Shieldbug ovae

In early February 2011 we found some Shieldbug ovae which were thought to be those of Picromerus bidens, a common Shieldbug on Budby South Forest where the eggs were found.

The egg batch had been laid underneath the loose bark on a branch of a semi-mature Oak, felled a couple of years previous. As Picromerus bidens was one of the few Shieldbugs for which we had no images of the ovae or nymph stages, the ovae were retained and taken home for hatching.

The length of the emerged wasp is no more than about 1.1 - 1.2mm and a tentative identification is a Trossolcus sp (Scelionidae). Click on the left image for more information on this emergence.

A micro moth first for Sherwood Forest

A surprising first record for the Sherwood Forest NNR on March 8th, when a single larval case of Luffia lapidella f. ferchaultella (Psychidae) was found by ranger Andy Boroff, during a short walk with fellow ranger Gary Joynt and ourselves.

The case, covered with lichen and measuring just 2.5mm long, was found whilst we were looking at a Narycia duplicella case on a Birch trunk in the Visitor Centre car park. Luffia lapidella f. ferchaultella is an interesting species and one which we had personally looked for during many hours surveying for Psychidae moths. It is thought to occur more frequently in urban areas, where it can be found on walls, posts and tree trunks. The combination of old and new cases can number hundreds.

In Britain two Luffia species are (or were) thought to occur, the parthenogenetic Luffia ferchaultella, with self-fertile wingless females, widespread in the southern part of Britain, and the bisexual Luffia lapidella, with winged males and wingless females, in Britain occurring only in Cornwall.

Larvae and cases of these species are identical. Recent DNA tests showed that the two species could not be separated, so technically they are two forms of one species, the bisexual form being  Luffia lapidella f. lapidella and the parthenogenetic form being Luffia lapidella f. ferchaultella.
Nottinghamshire County Council issue press release on Ctenophora ornata at Sherwood Forest NNR

More favourable publicity for the Sherwood Forest NNR, should come after Nottinghamshire County Council's imminent press release regarding the confirmation of the Crane Fly Ctenophora ornata (see item below) found at Sherwood Forest in 2009.
Fresh details on the 1938 Hazel Pot Beetle records from Sherwood Forest

Recent work to
re-organise the collection of around 97 000 coleoptera specimens at Leicestershire Museum CRC, Barrow-upon Soar, has begun to help clear up some of the confusion regarding the currently known records of Cryptocephalus coryli on the NBN Gateway, dating back to 1938.
The re-organisation has also provided additional records dating from 1929, 1939 and 1940, for which there are no known records. Although most of these records still list no recorder or determiner, it is hoped that we can make further enquiries to complete the relevant information over the next few days or weeks. The records are all listed as Sherwood Forest and shown in the table on the right. It is likely that the 1939 and 1940 records are attributed to D. Tozer.

The lack of any associated recorder or determiner for the previously known coryli records dating to 1938, had meant that we did not include them in the 2011 edition of the Sherwood Forest Invertebrate Directory we produce and maintain.

1929 An adult on 5th June, Sherwood Forest.
1938 An adult on 22nd May, Sherwood Forest. (Tozer, D.)
1938 An adult on 29th May, Sherwood Forest.
1938 Two adults on 5th June, Sherwood Forest. (Tozer, D.)
1938 An adult on 12th June, Sherwood Forest. (Tozer, D.)
1938 Two adults on 26th June, Sherwood Forest.
1939 An adult on 3rd May, Sherwood Forest.
1940 An adult on 17th June, Sherwood Forest.
1940 Two adults on 27th June, Sherwood Forest.
The Hazel Pot Beetle's recent national and international publicity following Natural England's press release, coincided with the publication of the Natural England Commissioned Report NECR066 ..The status of the hazel pot beetle at Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve (A.E. Binding, A. Binding, T. Pendleton, D. Pendleton & S.J. Clifton) published on 23 February 2011. This report can be downloaded free from Natural England's website at the link below.
NECR066 The status of the hazel pot beetle at Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve   Free Download
Sherwood Forest Invertebrate Directory 2011   Free Download
RDB1 Cranefly confirmed the first for Sherwood Forest

With the recent press stories on the finding of the Hazel Pot Beetle at Sherwood Forest back in 2008, we thought it appropriate that mention was made of another significant species, that has recently had it's suspected ID confirmed.

Ctenophora ornata has RDB1 status and is classed as endangered, being perhaps the most beautifully marked of all Craneflies known from Sherwood. The Sherwood Forest record is the most northerly UK record, with other known locations being areas of the New Forest and at Windsor Great Park.


There have been just six post-1960 UK records. The most recent records are from three areas in the New Forest during the 1970's, Windsor Forest in 1988 and again at the New Forest in 2008. The lack of recent records suggests a serious contraction of its former range.

Ctenophora ornata is a Cranefly of ancient broadleaved woodlands, where it breeds within dead and rotting wood. Beech is the favoured host tree in the UK, but other trees are utilised on the continent and it has been recorded near living ancient Oaks. Despite being confident of the initial identification, we waited a year before getting confirmation from John Kramer of the Tipulidae Recording Scheme. Concerted efforts will be made to look for C. ornata again in 2011.
  Hazel Pot Beetle in National Press

Natural England's recent press release, regarding the rediscovery of one of the UK's rarest beetles at Sherwood Forest back in 2008, led to articles appearing in both national and local newspapers on February 14th.

The list of publications running the release included The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Metro (February 13th), The Retford Times, The Batley and Birstall News and Pendle Today. Additionally, various web news resources have carried the story including MSN News.

Meanwhile, we have also been contacted by the BBC's science and environment reporter, regarding the Hazel Pot Beetle (Cryptocephalus coryli) with a view to possible further media (internet or TV) coverage later this year, but much depends on the continued success of the colony.

During the Winter months, some essential thinning work has been carried out at the site of the colony, but we have been personally involved with this and in addition to a general thinning of the plantation where the Hazel Pot Beetle occurs, new areas of suitable habitat for the beetle have been created. It remains to be seen, what effect the cold period of December 2010 has had on the over-wintering success rate of the larvae.
New Ladybird wintering site preferences

Both 14-spot and 10-spot Ladybirds were recently found over-wintering within the lightly rolled leaves of one of the evergreen Viburnum shrubs in our Market Warsop garden in late January.

This is the first time that we have found the wintering location of either species, despite concerted efforts over the years.
Early Sherwood Forest NNR coleoptera

A walk around part of the Sherwood Forest Country Park area on 10/01/11, produced a new species of Staphylinidae for the Sherwood Forest NNR, when a single Tachinus subterraneus was discovered underneath some fallen bark.

Other coleoptera found under logs included several Leistus rufomarginatus and Nebria brevicollis and a single Sepedophilus marshami. The small Harvestman Nemastoma bimaculatum was also present in good numbers.

First invertebrates of 2011

A short search under bark and logs at Lound Wood, Eakring on 02/01/11, produced the first moth of the year when an adult Agonopterix heracliana was found under loose Elm bark.

Coleoptera found included a single 7-spot Ladybird, Oulema rufocineria (both under bark) and Pterostichus niger. Arachnids noted under bark included an adult female Nuctenea umbratica and two Neriene montana.