Joe Botting's picture

Interesting finds in the thousand species challenge...

Hi Clare and all... apologies for poaching on your patch, but as I'm living on your side of the border (Llandrindod), this is where my thousand species are going to be found. I've given a link to my list in the dedicated thread (, but just wanted to highlight a few of the oddities and interesting things that are turning up.

* The woodlouse Trachelipus rathkii, previously found once before in Wales, seems to be quite widespread here. It's a pretty little thing, and one of only two UK species with five pairs of gills.
* A stunning golden silphid, the Beet Burying Beetle (Aclypea opaca), not seen in Powys for the past 50 years. Found without a beet or turnip in sight.
* The second (I believe) Welsh record of the purple springtail Dicyrtoma fusca - but that's probably down to under-recording rather than rarity.
* Another possible interesting springtail, Orchesella quinquefasciata, proviously known from very few UK records, mostly on the south coast... but this was a juvenile, so needs to be confirmed.
* The first Welsh record that I have (I'm running the recording scheme) of the psyllid Spanioneura fonscolombii - in the middle of the town.
* A moderately scarce leafhopper, Hardya melanopsis, in one small patch on grassland. The interest here is in the fact it's meant to live on alkaline heaths, and this is an acidic, hilltop grassland on top of ancient volcanic ashes... basically, it shouldn't be here. There's an outside chance is because it's not actually melanopsis, but a different species - possibly the same one that is causing a bit of confusion in Germany at the moment. We may have to wait until August to be able to confirm it, though, as it needs dissection of males to be absolutely sure.

That'll do for now - I'll post updates of other interesting beasties as they appear.



Joe Botting's picture

more springtails

It seems this is a good place for springtails. I've had more of that rare Orchesella, which seems to confirm it really is here, but there's also this cute little thing:

It's not very often you see a new, un-named species. At least, it's not often with living things - it happens all the time in palaeontology....

Joe Botting's picture

500 species... and new delphacids for Wales

I'm just celebrating going past the 500 species mark with a nice glass of cider and some German entomology literature.

Delphacid planthoppers are one of my favourite groups. There are only 74 species currently on the UK list, but there's a lot of interest to be found in them. All known species feed on grasses, rushes or sedges, and there are a lot of specialists in different habitats, particularly the various types of wetlands. often they feed on only a particular species. Add the fact that few people study them, and you have a lot of potential for finding something new for an area.

In this case, I've just had two species new to Wales. One, Paraliburnia clypealis is a rather dull-looking species that was traditionally known only from Wicken Fen, but has been turning up in a few unexpected places recently, including southern Scotland, and Somerset. The other, Xanthodelphax flaveola, is a delightful tiny yellow thing that was also thought restricted to SE England, with its limit being Dorset. Finding it in Llandrindod is therefore rather more of a surprise.

I must confess that, technically, the Paraliburnia record in my square is only the second Welsh record. This is because I had already found it the previous evening, a few miles up the road at Abercamlo Bog during a local invertebrate group outing. Finding it in an ancient, glaciation-relic bog is one thing; next to a small artificial pond above a housing estate is quite another. Like a lot of things that don't receive much attention, it may be a little less rare than we imagine...