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.
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||Scydmaenus tarsatus||Common||not recorded|
|Coleoptera||Scydmaenidae||Scydmaenus rufus||Common||not recorded|
|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||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 lewisi||2||not recorded|
|Coleoptera||Cryptophagidae||Atomaria testacea||1||not recorded|
|Coleoptera||Languriidae||Cryptophilus integer||1||not recorded|
|Coleoptera||Cerylonidae||Cerylon histeroides||1||not recorded|
|Coleoptera||Endomychidae||Holoparamecus caularum||12||not recorded|
|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|