Worcestershire Record No. 5 Nov 1998 p. 6
Until recently, I have concentrated most of my fieldwork into recording ornithology, lepidoptera and odonata. All of these groups involve conspicuous species. By and large, it is a fairly straightforward matter to be reasonably accurate in identifying a particular species with the multitude of quality field-guides now available to the naturalist. However, this is not always the case when it comes to safely identifying less 'popular' groups, which is very frustrating if you find a particularly handsome 'bug' or beetle or whatever.
Following a couple of chance encounters with two of the more unusual 'Longhorn' Beetles during 1997; which I was able to safely identify from my photographs, I became very interested in finding out further information on this family. In one respect the study of the Cerambycidae is not unlike the study of British Butterflies. There are approximately, (according to most sources), 70 species on the British Butterfly list, and the same number on the British Cerambycidae list. Of the Butterflies, 60 species can be seen in any one year if you are lucky and prepared to travel considerable distances at key times. This includes the commoner migrants! As most of you are aware, to see 30 of these species locally in a single year, you will have done extremely well! From my initial research, the pattern for the Cerambycidae is somewhat similar. About 20 out of the 70 on the British list are either believed extinct or are extremely rare Red Data Book (RDB) species. Only about 20 out of the remaining 50 are described as either common or 'local'. So, roughly equal to the Butterflies, one could expect to see 20-30 cerambycidae species in a single year.
The similarity with Butterfly recording ends here! Most of the Cerambycidae are only associated with ancient woodland remnants, unlike the many and diverse habitat requirements of Butterflies. The need for dead or decaying timber is essential for most of the Cerambycidae as the larval stage is spent gnawing galleries through the interior of dead wood for between 1-2 years. The species of trees involved differs between each species of Longhorn, although both oak and pine are very important. Some of the Cerambycidae do specialise in using larval host-plants other than tree-species, e.g. Agapanthia villosoviridescens utilises various herbaceous plants including thistles and hogweeds.
Also unlike Butterflies, the optimum 'season' for seeing adults of the Cerambycidae is relatively short, the peak period being between the end of April to the end of June, with hot, sunny weather proving to be most beneficial. Many species will feed on pollen as adults, so a good ground flora in woodland rides and at wood margins is very attractive to them, particularly umbelliferous plants such as hogweeds in my experience. Like Butterflies, I consider all of our Cerambycidae to be spectacular, and once located, most can usually be approached quite readily for photography or observation. But some species can be infuriatingly illusive and difficult to approach. These are those that do not normally feed at pollen sources and should best be searched for at log-piles or amongst decaying branches of standing timber.
There are a few books available as guides to the Cerambycidae, but none that I know of illustrate in detail all of just the British species. The two books that I refer to most are 'A field-guide in colour to Beetles' by K.W. Harde, published by Octopus in 1984, and 'Longhorn Beetles (Coleoptera Cerambycidae) of Fennoscandia and Denmark' by S. Bily; Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, Volume 22.
In Worcestershire we are fortunate to have a lot of high quality habitat suitable for the Cerambycidae. It was with this in mind that I set out to see what I could find at my favourite 'patches' during 1998. I recorded and photographed 22 species, so bringing my 'personal list' for Worcestershire to 23 species, following my 1997 record of a single Leptura rubra at Tiddesley Wood, which I did not see in 1998. The following lists the species I have so far recorded, and photographed:-
Aromia moschata. normal size range 13-34 mm.
Anaglyptus mysticus normal size range 6-14 mms.
Tetrops praeusta mormal size range 3-6 mms.
1. Asemum striatumNationally : LOCAL
|25.5 Pair in-cop plus a single male photographed at Tiddesley Wood.
||30.5 4 pairs copulating plus 5 singles distributed throughout Tiddesley. Most were found towards the bases of mature
Scots-Pines with a few at the bases of oaks. (with Scots Pine nearby).
2. Rhagium mordaxNationally : COMMON
|16.5 One photographed on a log pile at the Knapp & Papermill. Reserve managers, Stuart and Tina, told me of about "half a dozen at the same site yesterday".
||1.6 Two at Monkwood. Both at the log pile.
3. Stenocorous meridianusNationally : LOCAL
|5.7 Recorded in one's and two's at Tiddesley, Drakes Broughton Orchards, Malvern Hills, Monkwood, Knapp & Papermill, Bredon Hill and Grafton Wood. Look for them on blossoms of bramble, dog-rose, meadowsweet and hogweed.|
4. Grammoptera ruficornisNationally : COMMON
5. Alosterna tabacicolorNationally : LOCAL
6. Leptura lividaNationally : LOCAL
As yet, I have only found small numbers of this species at hogweed flowers along the track to Tiddesley Wood from the new car-park, and alongside the nearby Bow Brook to the west of the woodk on four dates between 14.6 to 7.7.
7. Leptura rubraNationally : UNCERTAIN
My only record so far is of a single male I photographed on the blossom of Rosebay Willowherb in Tiddesley Wood on 19.7.97. I doubt that it was actually feeding at the plant as it just seemed to 'crash-land' on it, an observation I have made with other Longhorn species.
8. Judolia cerambyciformisNationally : LOCAL
|1.6 two at Monkwood
||12.6 one at the Knapp & Papermill
||20.6 one at Monkwood
9. Strangalia maculataNationally : COMMON
10. Strangalia melanuraNationally : LOCAL
11. Strangalia quadrifasciataNationally : LOCAL
|A single at angelica blossom on 27.7.97
||A single at angelica blossom on 5.8.98
12. Molorchus minor
Nationally : NATURALISED ALIEN HOST PLANT
|25.5, 4 at Tiddesley Wood on cut logs of Douglas Fir.
||30.5, 7 at Tiddesley Wood on cut logs of Douglas Fir.
13. Molorchus umbellatarumNationally : Notable A
|21.6 one at Drakes Broughton Orchard on flowers of hogweed.
||26.6 four at Tiddesley Wood on flowers of hogweed.
||4.7 one at Tiddesley Wood on flowers of hogweed.
14. Aromia moschataNationally : Notable B
Look for it in the vicinity of ancient pollarded willows, e.g. the Bow Brook.
15. Clytus arietisNationally : COMMON
16. Anaglyptus mysticusNationally : Notable B
|24.5 six at Monkwood 'log-pile'.
||30.5 one female at Tiddesley Wood ovipositing in a cut
||1.6 four at Monkwood 'log-pile'.
17. Pogonecherus hispidulusNationally : LOCAL
18. Leiopus nebulosusNationally : LOCAL
|14.6 one on a poplar at Tiddesley Wood.
||20.6. one at the Monkwood 'log-pile'.
19. Agapanthia villosoviridescensNationally : LOCAL
20. Saperda populneaNationally : LOCAL
|23.5 one at Tiddesley Wood on Aspen
||30.5 one at Tiddesley Wood on Aspen
||1.6 one at Monkwood on Aspen
21. Stenostola dubiaNationally : Notable B
|29.5 one at Swinyard Hill, Malverns, on branches of a very old, decaying hawthorn.
||1.6 one at the Monkwood 'log-pile'. Unlike the typical 'blue' version at the Malverns, this specimen was of an iron
grey colouration, so proving to be rather unusual.
22. Phytoecia cylindricaNationally: Notable B
|10.5 two found at Monkwood, on emergent hogweeds.
||28.5. two at Bredon Hill amongst stems of Rough Chervil.
23. Tetrops praeustaNationally: LOCAL
I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has any records of Longhorn Beetles in Worcestershire that they would like to share with me. Or perhaps, you may like to join Geoff Trevis and myself in expanding our local 'Invertebrate Recording Group', we are attempting to gain more recruits who are interested in the less popular and under-recorded Insects and Invertebrates within Worcestershire.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Paul Whitehead for kindly confirming the identities of some of the more difficult species from my slides, particularly the following:-
|Strangalia melanura, Tiddesley Wood, 30.5.
||Molorchus umbellatarum, Tiddesley Wood, 28.6.
||Pogonecherus hispidulus, Knapp & Papermill, 7.6.
||Stenostola dubia, Monkwood, 1.6.
|BILY, S 1989 Longhorn Beetles (Coleoptera Cerambycidae) of Fennoscandia and Denmark Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, Volume 22. (like all of the series this is written in English)
||HARDE, KW 1984 A field guide in colour to beetles. Octopus Books
There is also Norman Hickin's little Shire Publications Book on Longhorns which is quite useful in illustrating many British Longhorns but at the moment I can't find my copy to give you a full reference.
|WBRC Home||Worcs Record Listing by Issue||Worcs Record Listing by Subject|