Beetles, birds, general natural history. Britain, Ireland and abroad.

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Where there’s muck …

On a visit to Langley Park on 24th March, I was tempted to have ‘a quick look’ at a heap of stable waste; a mix of hay, woodchip and horse dung. It was an unseasonably hot and sunny day and the heap was swarming with beetles. I tried to be selective and not create too much homework for myself but even so, there were a lot of good things: five beetles I’d never seen before and several more which I’ve seen only once or twice.

Some highlights, illustrating how many recently arrived species can be found by searching in muck-heaps of various sorts.

Edaphus beszedesi (Staphylinidae, Euaesthetinae) was discovered new to Britain c.2006 by Peter Hammond from two heaps near Windsor, and published by Lott and Anderson (2011). I found it at a stable in south Bucks in 2008 but it still doesn’t seem to have been turned up by many other people.

Euconnus duboisi (Staphylinidae, Scydmaeninae). This was new to me and had me really puzzled. Given the very real chance of discovering beetles new to Britain in this sort of habitat, I was already thinking along those lines when I couldn’t key it to any of the known British scydmaenine genera. But in discussion with Peter Hammond, I’m pretty satisfied that it is E. duboisi. This species was added to the British list in 1945 (too late to be included in Joy’s keys) and is not included in Freude, Harde and Lohse vol. 3.

There don't appear to be any other images of Euconnus duboisi on the internet, and it is quite a perplexing species to identify with the usual literature. So hopefully this photo will help others who may come across it.

Cryptophilus integer (Erotylidae). At the time, this species had the cachet of being the sole British member of the family Languriidae but the 2012 checklist has lumped it in with Erotylidae. It is an extremely dull little brown job, resembling a Cryptophagus. It was discovered new to Britain c.2007 but has been found quite widely in London and surrounding area, mostly in woodchip heaps.

Hypomedon debilicornis (Staphylinidae, Paederinae) was discovered, new to Britain, in Northamptonshire in 1989 from solidified farm slurry. It was next reported from a manure heap in North Hampshire in 1996. I know of more recent records for Surrey, Norfolk, Bucks and Berks and I think it has become more widely established.

Mycetophagus quadriguttatus (Mycetophagidae) is a Nationally Scarce (Na) saproxylic found in association with fungi and mouldy debris of old broad-leaved trees. However, it also occurs in synanthropic situations such as food-stores, granaries and stables (in mouldy hay). Seems to be turning up more frequently in recent years.

Clambus simsoni (Clambidae) was added to the British list in 1997 and has become a fairly regular feature of woodchip piles.

Sericoderus lateralis (Corylophidae). A single female was the first I’d seen since 2004 of this once common species which appears to have been largely usurped by the Australian S. brevicornis (as discussed here).

My species list, with the ones I’d not seen before in bold.

Order Family Species (scientific name) Quantity Sex
Coleoptera Carabidae Syntomus obscuroguttatus 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Hydrophilidae Cryptopleurum minutum 2 not recorded
Coleoptera Histeridae Carcinops pumilio 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Histeridae Atholus bimaculatus 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Scydmaenidae Euconnus duboisi 1 male
Coleoptera Scydmaenidae Scydmaenus tarsatus Common not recorded
Coleoptera Scydmaenidae Scydmaenus rufus Common not recorded
Coleoptera Staphylinidae Micropeplus fulvus 5 male
Coleoptera Staphylinidae Trichiusa immigrata 2 not recorded
Coleoptera Staphylinidae Edaphus beszedesi Several not recorded
Coleoptera Staphylinidae Astenus pulchellus 4 not recorded
Coleoptera Staphylinidae Hypomedon debilicornis 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Staphylinidae Philonthus discoideus 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Staphylinidae Bisnius sordidus 1 male
Coleoptera Staphylinidae Leptacinus pusillus 1 male
Coleoptera Staphylinidae Phacophallus pallidipennis 1 male
Coleoptera Staphylinidae Gyrohypnus fracticornis 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Clambidae Clambus pubescens 8 not recorded
Coleoptera Clambidae Clambus simsoni 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Monotomidae Monotoma bicolor s.s. 26 not recorded
Coleoptera Monotomidae Monotoma brevicollis 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Monotomidae Monotoma spinicollis 4 not recorded
Coleoptera Monotomidae Monotoma testacea 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Cryptophagidae Atomaria apicalis 1 female
Coleoptera Cryptophagidae Atomaria lewisi 2 not recorded
Coleoptera Cryptophagidae Atomaria testacea 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Cryptophagidae Ephistemus globulus 1 male
Coleoptera Languriidae Cryptophilus integer 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Cerylonidae Cerylon histeroides 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Endomychidae Holoparamecus caularum 12 not recorded
Coleoptera Corylophidae Orthoperus aequalis 1 male
Coleoptera Corylophidae Sericoderus lateralis 1 female
Coleoptera Latridiidae Enicmus histrio 1 female
Coleoptera Latridiidae Cartodere nodifer 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Mycetophagidae Mycetophagus quadriguttatus 1 not recorded
Coleoptera Tenebrionidae Alphitophagus bifasciatus 3 not recorded
Dermaptera Labiidae Labia minor (Lesser Earwig) Several not recorded
Isopoda Porcellionidae Porcellionides pruinosus Common not recorded

 

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