Some Notable Coleoptera Recorded During Surveys in Worcestershire 1999
By Don Goddard
During 1998 I did very little recording in Worcestershire, spending most of my time in the southern counties recording for the National Trust. This year I have managed to get about our own county surveying various sites including many Trust reserves. It served to remind me that from the beetle point of view we have a rich county certainly the equal of places like the New Forest. It's just a matter of getting out and recording (plus the identifying etc!!).
Badister unipustulatus Bonelli (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A medium-small, rufous and black ground beetle which occurs in undisturbed marshes, fens and wet marshy woodland such as willow carr. It is usually found near standing water amongst lush vegetation, in reed litter or hibernating under bark. The species locally distributed in southern and eastern England and south Wales.
Threatened by loss of wetlands through agricultural improvement, falling water tables and habitat disturbance due to excessive grazing, trampling and overzealous conservation activity also habitat invasion by alien species such as Himalyan balsam may be detrimental.
Found under bark on semi-submerged log, Wilden Marsh SO826733 16/08/1999.
Pterostichus lepidus Leske (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A medium sized ground beetle, typical of dry, sandy or gravely soils particularly dry exposed heaths with heather. It appears to prefer open, sunny ground amongst sparse vegetation. This species has a discontinuous distribution with most records from southern heathlands and the North York Moors. Elsewhere records are very scattered and this would appear to be the only recorded site in Worcestershire. It may well searching for it on the nearby Devil's Spittleful and Rifle Range reserves. Threatened by loss of habitat. Maintenance of disturbed ground with sparse vegetation is essential.
Running on bare sandy soil, disturbed ground, Wyre Forest Golf Club, Stourport SO811738 4/08/1999.
Dytiscus circumflexus (F) (Nationally Scarce category B)
A large great-diving beetle with characteristic black stripes on the underside of the abdomen. Mainly associated with brackish pools in coastal counties of England and Wales with more scattered records from inland ponds. The species appears to have extended its range in recent years although it is still very local inland. Most Worcestershire records are from recently created or restored ponds. Threatened by loss of ponds and pollution.
Recently constructed pond, Wilden Marsh SO829742, 19/08/1999
Field pond, Tiddersley Wood SO931460, 7/09/1999
Graptodytes granularis (L) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small, oval diving beetle of bogs, fens, marshes and also swampy areas of ponds. It appears to prefer places with fluctuating water levels, ie. places that dry out on a seasonal basis. Both of the known county sites fit this description. It is fairly widespread but local in East Anglia and southern Scotland, elsewhere it is a scarce species and is never usually found in large numbers. There is one previous record for this species in the county, from a swampy pool near Hallow in 1982. Threatened by loss of wetland through falling water tables, agricultural improvement, excessive tidying of ponds and pollution.
Body Brook Marsh SSSI, Droitwich, SO913633 17/06/1999
Hydroglyphus pusillus (L) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small, globular diving beetle with yellow and black stripes, usually found in shallow, man made silt ponds. Most records are from the south and east of the country with scattered records as far north as Yorkshire. Due to its small size it may be under-recorded. This appears to be only the second record for Worcestershire, the previous record by Dr. P. Ponel from Brays Pit, Brandon SO731443, 19/06/1991. Threatened by loss of wetland through falling water tables, agricultural improvement, excessive tidying of ponds and pollution.
Shallow water hazard 6th fairway, Wyre Forest Golf Club, Stourport SO805732 4/08/1999
Hydaticus seminiger (De Geer) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A medium sized, long-oval diving beetle with broad yellowish bands bordering the elytra. It occurs in ponds and ditches with dense vegetation appearing to prefer fen carr habitats. The adults are ready fliers and over-winter on land returning to their breeding sites in spring. The species has declined in the west and is generally restricted to East Anglia and the south-eastern counties being very scarce elsewhere hence its occurrence in Worcestershire is of particular interest. Threatened by loss of wetland through falling water tables, agricultural improvement, excessive tidying of ponds and pollution.
Recorded from two sites in the county. A single specimen from a pond in Lassington Close, Redditch SP070671 31/05/1999 whilst dozens were found in a weedy ditch at Wilden Marsh SO830745, 20/08/1999.
Helochares lividus (Forster) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
An oval greenish-yellow beetle found in weedy ponds, often in new or recently renovated ponds. A local species, found mainly in the southern and eastern half of the country. This species is widespread in the county but only occurs in better quality ponds. Threatened by pollution and loss of suitable ponds.
Porter's Mill, Droitwich Canal SO850600 26/05/1999. Water hazard 6th fairway, Wyre Forest Golf Club, Stourport SO805732 4/08/1999. Recently constructed pond, Wilden Marsh SO829742 19/08/1999
Anacaena bipustulata Marsham (Nationally scarce category B)
A small dark globular beetle found in a wide variety of wet land habitats such as streams, canals, drains, marshes, ponds, pits and peat mosses. A southern species, apparently near the limit of its range in the Midlands, and this would appear to be the first record for Worcestershire. Threatened by loss of wetland.
Porter's Mill, Droitwich Canal SO850600, 26/05/1999. Droitwich Rugby Club, Droitwich Canal SO916631, 18/6/1999
Cercyon convexiusculus Stephens (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small oval beetle usually found at the edges of ponds amongst wet mud and litter. Widely distributed with more records in the east of the country. Possibly under recorded due to its small size. Only seven members of this large genus can be considered truly aquatic, most live in dung or decaying vegetation. Only one previous county record from Hanley Swan village pond in 1982, before it was cleaned out and cosmetically tided up!
Pond in Lassington Close, Redditch SP070671 31/05/1999
Berosus signaticollis (Charpentier) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A greenish-brown, oval beetle that sometimes squeaks when handled. It can tolerate shallow, muddy pools even those fouled by cattle so one wonders why it is so scarce. The main stronghold for the species is in the south-eastern counties, elsewhere it is extremely local. There was some excitement when this species was discovered in a field pond on the Croome estate during a survey by the National Trust in 1995 and also excitement when I found two specimens in shallow water in a redundant settling pit at the Severn-Trent Water Works at Strensham SO917399 on 29 September 1999. Croome is near to Strensham so a search of other ponds in the area may be rewarded with further specimens.
Hydraena testacea Curtis (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small elongated black beetle that occurs in both static water such as heathland pools, salt marshes and fens and muddy streams. Usually found at the edges of water-bodies amongst submerged grass etc. Locally distributed troughout the country with most records from the south-east. The species appears to be declining. There do not appear to be any previous Worcestershire records. Grassy edge of pond in Lassington Close, Redditch SP070671 31/05/1999
Stenus nigritulus Gyllenhal (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small black rove beetle, that frequents damp and marshy places, as do many members of this large genus. It has been recorded from tussocks in marshes, shingle and mud on riverbanks, and also from haystack litter. The species is widely distributed but local and appears to be declining an all to familiar story.
Reed litter, Linacres cottages, Droitwich Canal SO860601, 1/06/1999.
Paederus fuscipes Curtis (Nationally Scarce category B)
A small blue and orange rove beetle found in marshes, bogs, pond margins and other damp places. Usually occurs amongst reed litter and other plant debris and some times found running around on wet, bare mud in sunny places. Widely distributed but local throughout England, Wales and southwest Scotland. Adults have been recorded in most months. Threatened by pollution and loss of wetland through falling water tables, agricultural improvement and excessive tidying of ponds and ditches. Reed litter, Wilden Marsh, SO828735, 19/08/1999
Anisoxya fuscula (Illiger) (Nationally Scarce Category A)
A small, elongate, dark brown, false darkling beetle whose larvae develop in dead twigs on a variety of broad-leaved trees such as ash, willows, beech, lilac and field maple. Adults appear to remain in the canopy and the species is associated with ancient broad-leaved woodland and also mature trees in more open areas. The species has a sparsely scattered distribution throughout the southern half of England and Wales. Threatened by loss of mature trees, removal of dead wood from living trees and the removal of standing and fallen dead wood for reasons of forest hygiene, public safety and aesthetic tidiness.
Dead branches, mature oak, Wyre Forest Golf Club, Stourport SO810733, 4/08/1999
Orchesia minor Walker (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small, elongate, dark red-brown false darkling beetle usually found in bracket fungi on trees and in rotten wood. Recorded from beech, hazel, lime and willow. Adults have been found in January and from April to September. Widely distributed but very local throughout Britain. Threatened by loss of woodland and by clearing of old and fungus-infected trees. Dead branches on old willow pollard, Wilden Marsh SO828735, 19/08/1999
Ctesias serra (F) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small oval dermestid beetle usually found as a larva amongst old cobwebs under loose, dry bark on old broad-leaved trees. Recorded from oak, elm, ash and willow. Adults and larvae are thought to feed on insect remains in old spiders webs. Larvae have been found in most months and adults are usually recorded between April and June. Widely distributed but local throughout Britain. Threatened by loss of broad-leaved woodland and particularly destruction of old trees and removal of dead wood from old trees for fire-wood or reasons of aesthetic tidiness. Under bark, old willow pollard, Wilden Marsh SO828735, 19/08/1999
Anaglyptus mysticus (L) (Nationally Scarce category b)
A spectacular "long-horn" beetle of woodland scrub and hedgerow with a preference for old hawthorn hedges with plenty of dead dry branches. The larvae develop ion dead wood and are thought to prefer very dry dead branches and boles. Adults visit flowers, especially hawthorn blossom. Threatened by loss of old hedges, cosmetic tidying of hedges and pesticides. Old hawthorn hedge, Burlish top, Stourport SO804735, 14/05/1999
Gracilia minuta (F) (Red Data Book Category 2 - Vulnerable)
A small, dark red-brown, suparallel slightly flattened long horn beetle with white pubescence. Associated with with various shrubs including blackthorn, dog rose, elm, hazel, lime and osier. The larvae excavate irregular longitudinal galleries under the bark of twigs and small branches. The species has been recorded from wicker-work articles. The life cycle lasts one year and adults are usually found between May and August. Formerly much more widespread, G. minuta, has declined dramatically and the only recent records are from Kent and Hampshire. Threats result from loss of broad-leaved woodland and changes in management practice such as removal of shrubs and under-story from woodlands. Two specimens were found at Eldersfield Marsh a new WWT reserve in the south of the county. One was beaten from dog rose and a second from willow twigs in old hedgerow on 14th and 19th June 1999.
Molorchus umbellaratum (Von Schreber) (Nationally Scarce category A)
A small, slender and flattened longhorn beetle with very long antennae and shortened elytra so the wings project well beyond the elytral tip. Recorded mainly from dog rose but also from apple, bramble, dogwood and guelder-rose. Adults have been recorded from May to July and are often found on hawthorn blossom or as the specific name suggests, on umbellifer flowers. Formerly more widespread current distribution appears to centre round Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Threats result from loss of broad-leaved woodland and changes in management practice such as removal of shrubs and under-story from woodlands. One specimen, beaten from dogwood, in old hedgerow at Eldersfield Marsh reserve.
Bytiscus populi (L) (Red data Book Category 3- Rare)
A somewhat square-shaped, metallic green leaf-rolling weevil about 5mm long that is associated with aspen, white poplar and black poplar. The larvae live in leaf rolls constructed from a single leaf. The adults are most frequent in June but have been recorded from May to September. Formerly more widespread, most recent records are from the south east of England. The main reason for its decline would appear to be loss of open areas in woodland with changes in management practices altering the vegetation structure. Young aspen saplings appear to be preferred. A single specimen was beaten from young aspen in a clearing by the ponds at Monkwood Reserve on 22 August 1999.
Platyrhinus resinosus (Scopoli) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A fungus weevil, oblong shaped and dark blue-grey with a dirty white rostrum and elytral tip. Usually associated with the fungus Daldinia concentrica on old ash trees. It has a scattered distribution throughout Britain. Threatened by loss of habitat through clearing of fungus-infected trees. Occasionally found on other trees. One was tapped from an old willow pollard by Bow Brook on the Marsh Warbler reserve next to Tiddersley Wood on 9th September 1999'
Perapion sedi Germar (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small seed weevil occurring on various species of stonecrop growing on grassland, dunes, stabilised shingle and disturbed ground, the larvae mine the leaves and stems of the host plant. Most records are from coastal areas with a few isolated inland records. Threatened by loss of habitat due to natural succession such as scrub invasion, development, conversion to agriculture and "tidying" of waste ground. Disturbed, sandy ground Wyre Forest Golf Club, Stourport SO807733 4/08/1999
Protapion dissimile Germar (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small seed weevil associated with hare's foot clover Trifolium arvense, on dry, sparsely vegetated, acidic, sandy soils such as disturbed ground, dunes. Widely distributed but local from north-west England southwards. Threatened by natural succession, agricultural improvement schemes and habitat degradation caused by activities such as, excessive human trampling, horse riding, motor bike riding Rough grassland, Wyre Forest Golf Club, Stourport SO812732 ,4/08/1999
Oxystoma cerdo Gerestaecker (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small seed weevil associated with vetches especially tufted vetch Vicia cracca. Found mainly in hedgerows, unimproved grassland, roadside verges and waste ground. The species has a northern distribution with more scattered records in southern England. Threatened by grassland improvement schemes, fertilizer application, loss of hedgerows and inappropriate mowing regimes.
Rough grassland, Wyre Forest Golf Club, Stourport SO812732 ,4/08/1999
Coeliodes erythroleucus (Gmelin) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small rounded weevil associated with oak in broad-leaved woodland, wooded heathland and oaks in scrub and hedgerows. The larvae feed on the female flowers of the host tree. Widespread but local. Recorded throughout England, Wales and Scotland. Threatened by felling of host trees, scrub clearance and coniferisation. Dead branches, mature oak, Wyre Forest Golf Club, Stourport SO810733, 4/08/1999
Gymnetron collinum (Gyllenhal) (Nationally Scarce Category a)
A small weevil associated with common toadflax Linaria vulgaris. On grassland, disturbed ground, verges etc. The larvae develop in galls on the roots of the host plant. Very local, with a thinly scattered distribution, north to southern Lancashire. Threatened by loss of habitat through natural succession, agricultural improvement and development of disturbed ground.
Woodland edge, Wyre Forest Golf Club, Stourport SO812732 ,4/08/1999
Mecinus circulatus (Marsham) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small, dark, long-oval weevil usually found on grassland, chalk downland, cliffs, dunes, disturbed ground and road verges, predominantly coastal.. Usually associated with ribwort plantain, Plantago lanceolata and buck's-horn plantain P. coronopus. Adults have been recorded in most months. Widespread but local southwards from the Midlands, including Wales.
Rough grass, St. John's, Worcester SO828540, 13/09/1999