A Remedy for the Winter Blues

17 November 2019 | Posted in Chris Bentley , Rye Harbour , Wildlife , Wetland
A Remedy for the Winter Blues
Ethelcus verrucatus

I spent a very rewarding couple of hours with Sussex Wildlife Trust ecologist Graeme Lyons and visiting naturalist Ryan Clarke last weekend looking for invertebrates on the Beach Reserve. Graeme brought along his suction sampler (actually an adapted leaf blower) and despite it being November (and cold) we found a great range of 'stuff'. The shingle near the 'Black Hut' turned up several specimens of the rare weevil Lixus scabricollis from Sea Beet, as well as the strange, beetle-like shore fly Clanoneurum cimiciforme, a species which I have caught in the pitfalls on the new saltmarsh but have never seen alive. Heading to the river mouth we then picked up a couple of uncommon beasties; the ground beetle Cymindis axillaris (below),  and the spider Walckenaeria monoceros. We also found several Ant Woodlouse in the nests of Yellow Meadow Ant and also one or two Rosy Woodlouse, a species I don't see here very often. 

Rxcyindis a

Highlight for me was the rare weevil Ethelcus verrucatus, a species which is associated with Yellow Horned-poppy (it develops in the roots) and which I have spent many hours searching for with no success. Graeme extracted one with his suction-sampler from the host plant on the Beach Reserve, the first record here since 1996. Almost as exciting was an unidentified species of Eremocoris bug (below) found in the same area, a first for Sussex whatever species it turns out to be. Surprisingly, we also had a record of Garlic Snail, a species normally found in woodland (though as it turned out there was a previous record from the reserve in 1984) and Adonis Ladybird, another species which I have never seen alive before. All in all a very enjoyable and productive few hours were had by all. I think I want a suction sampler for Christmas!


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