Trainee Ecologist finds first for Sussex

, 30 June 2014

Author Graeme Lyons

Senior Ecologist

alder leaf beetle / Graeme Lyons alder leaf beetle / Graeme Lyons

Which actually means a first for TWO counties, even more significant than a county first really. This rather stunning creature is the alder leaf beetle Agelastica alni which we recorded at Burton Pond on Tuesday. In fact, this summer's Voluntary Trainee Ecologist, Adrian Holloway spotted it sitting on a young alder tree and he should be very pleased, as it's almost certainly the first record in the south east of England for many years! Despite looking at plenty of suitable habitat, we only found one specimen. What a great find.

The species has recently had a bit of a come back in the north of England and has the status RDBK, which means we don't really know what is going on with this species! Has it clung on in the south east undetected, is it an immigrant or maybe even an introduction, we just can't say other than it's clearly not common down here.

The invertebrate survey we are conducting at the Trust's land holdings at Burton Pond this year is proving to be quite interesting, with nearly 400 species recorded so far from four visits and with many flies and aculeates still to be added to this total. We have had one beetle new to Sussex and one spider new to West Sussex so far. Whatever will this incredibly varied site turn up next?!

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