Invertebrate news 2017
Insect and Arachnid news and sightings from around Nottinghamshire
The Mirid Bug Agnocoris reclairei at Attenborough NR

Tim Sexton recorded the Mirid Bug Agnocoris reclairei (Wagner, 1949), from Attenborough NR in April 2017, which looks set to be the first record for VC56.

Something of a wetland species, Agnocoris reclairei had traditionally been restricted to the Fens of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, but it appears to have undergone a range increase in recent years. There is a single record from Derbyshire listed on the NBN Atlas.

A new site for the Alder Leaf Beetle

Agelastica alni (the Alder Leaf Beetle) continues to spread to new areas in the north and north-west of the county. In early April, we recorded 30 adults around the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre, recently emerged and already defoliating some nearby young Alders.

This is the most easterly Nottinghamshire record we know of, and we would expect them to be in nearby Retford. Agelastica alni had previously been recorded from five Nottinghamshire sites. All but one of these (Dyscarr Wood) were former Colliery sites and all are in the north-west of the county around Mansfield and Worksop. 

Nottinghamshire's first record was from Dyscarr Wood, when it was found and photographed by Pauline Bradford on June 11th 2014.

Some recent records from Besthorpe GP

We visited the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's Besthorpe nature reserve, just north of Newark on the River Trent on a sunny but windy day in late March.

A few interesting species were found, including the impressive ground beetle Carabus granulatus (Linnaeus, 1758), while checking the fruiting bodies of the fungus Daldinia concentrica (more often known as King Alfred's Cakes), provided us with the beetles Platyrhinus resinosus (Scopoli, 1763) and Biphyllus lunatus (Fabricius, 1787).

Of special note, were several larval cases of Luffia ferchaultella (Stephens, 1850) found on an old gate post in the reserve's small car park. Luffia ferchaultella is a wingless, self-fertile Psychid moth and this record is the first from a site east of the River Trent. There are several known sites for this moth in Nottinghamshire, most of which are in urban areas.

First Oil Beetles already out on Budby South Forest

Chloe Ryder of the RSPB reports that two Black Oil Beetles (Meloe proscarabaeus) were already active on February 23rd. This is the earliest date we know of since they were found back in 2011, beating last year's early date of February 28th, by some five days.

The rediscovery of the Oil Beetle in Nottinghamshire for the first time in over a 100 years, provided the chance to monitor the colony over successive years. The discovery by Adrian Dutton and his wife in 2011, was followed a couple of years later by the discovery of a second colony in the grounds of Newstead Abbey in 2013. Both colonies have continued to survive, but there must surely be other colonies elsewhere.

Melogona scutellaris in a Mapperley garden

In late February we recorded several examples of the Millipede Melogona scutellaris (Ribaut, 1913) from under long-standing rockery stones in a Mapperley garden.

There are records from most parts of the UK, but Melogona scutellaris is predominantly a species of northern and western counties and it was surprisingly unknown in Nottinghamshire, despite being known from Leicestershire (The Millipedes of Leicestershire and Rutland, Daws, J. and Ikin, H.)

Melogona scutellaris is a typical Millipede of synanthropic habitats (associated with human activity, buildings and gardens etc) and should likely be present at other locations in the county. The same mature garden has produced other records of similarly scarce county Millipedes in recent years, showing that suburban gardens can be excellent sources of invertebrate records.

Choneiulus palmatus recorded from the grounds of Nottingham City Hospital

The increased interest in the county's Myriapods and Isopods over the past few years, continues to provide interesting records during the early months of each year, when records from other invertebrate orders are few.

Although the identification of some species can be difficult, their often synanthropic habits tend to make them easily accessible in seemingly unlikely locations deep within our towns and cities.

In February, we took several specimens of what turned out to be Choneiulus palmatus (Nemec, 1895), from under a large stone, lying on top of bark chippings at the old north entrance of Nottingham's City Hospital. Choneiulus palmatus is a difficult Millipede to identify to species level and almost impossible to separate from Proteroiulus fuscus and Nopoiulus kochii without the aid of a microscope. Its very much a Millipede of buildings and urban sites and a surprise second Nottinghamshire record, following a record from Church Warsop in March 2015.

  Aphanus rolandri in Nottinghamshire

Aphanus rolandri (Linnaeus, 1758) is a large, black Ground Bug (Lygaeidae) with a distinctive red or orange spot at the base of the wing membrane, making it almost unmistakable and with no real confusion species.

Previously unknown from Nottinghamshire, the one that turned up in our Market Warsop garden on a mild afternoon in mid-February 2017, was soon confirmed by Dave Budworth and Jim Flanagan, as being a new species for Nottinghamshire and probably the most (reliable) northerly UK record to date.

A. rolandri is known to occur on dry, well-drained sites, such as chalk pits, cliffsides and has been known from cultivated fields. Found predominantly in the south-east of the UK, there are a scattering of records from Midland counties.

A new site for the Woodlouse Trichoniscoides albidus in Nottinghamshire

Trichoniscoides albidus (Budde-Lund, 1880) is a small Woodlouse, similar in appearance to Trichoniscus pusillus (Brandt, 1833) and usually found under stones in wet/damp locations. It was only discovered new to Nottinghamshire in January 2016, when found at two sites on the River Trent at Farndon near Newark by Derek Whiteley.

In early February 2017, we found it in good numbers under large items of flood refuse at Stoke Bardolph. Trichoniscoides albidus is likely to be common along many river courses throughout Nottinghamshire, but especially along the Trent Valley.

A second Nottinghamshire record of the Millipede Chordeuma proximum

Not having had much chance to get out this Winter, we managed a walk up Clipstone Old Quarter near Edwinstowe on January 22nd. On reaching the limit of our walk, we stopped to look underneath a large section of branch which fell off the Centre Tree a number of years ago.

Despite the frost we found three active Millipedes, one of which was male and later confirmed as being Chordeuma proximum (Ribaut, 1913) a species we had recorded as new to Nottinghamshire (VC56) at King's Clipstone in January 2015. This Millipede must be fairly widespread in the Sherwood Forest area and this record also represents a new species for the Sherwood Forest NNR.

A recent record of the bark beetle Cicones undatus (Colydiidae) in Nottinghamshire

Assistant reserve manager Tim Sexton, reports he recently recorded the bark beetle Cicones undatus (Colydiidae) at Attenborough Nature Reserve.

The January record seemed to be unusual and at first was believed to be a new species for the county, but it seems the beetle was recorded at Stoke Bardolph back in 2004 by Adrian Dutton. Cicones undatus (Guérin-Méneville, 1835) is a small (2.5-3.5mm) beetle and several were found under bark at Attenborough NR by Tim in January 2017.

A relatively recent colonist of the UK, it was discovered at Windsor Great Park in 1984 and has since been recorded from other south-eastern counties. It is believed to be associated with Sooty Bark Disease of Sycamores, caused by the fungus Cryptostroma corticale.