Readers may recall that I found one of these nationally Notable B ‘click’ beetles previously in Tiddesley; please see issue number 7 of Worcestershire Record: page 20. On that occasion, (18.4.1999), I simply took several photographs thinking it would be relatively easy to identify such a striking species. How mistaken I was! Paul Whitehead had to carefully scrutinise half a dozen different slides under a microscope before he was able to safely determine the beetle as A. pomorum. He advised that all ‘red’ click beetles I found in the future should be brought to him in a tube to establish correct identification; this is important, as all ‘red’ click beetles are rare, indeed some are endangered.
On 20.2.2000, I was lucky to find another red click at Tiddesley. It was just under the bark of a fallen birch at the edge of the wood on the Bow Brook side, a long way from my previous find. This one proved much easier to photograph, after which I popped it into a tube, (alive), before setting off to Paul’s with my prize! The beetle was confirmed as Ampedus pomorum and was safely returned to Tiddesley a couple of days later.
According to ‘A review of the scarce and threatened Coleoptera of Great Britain’ by Hyman & Parsons, Ampedus pomorum is associated with birch, though also with oak and ash, in ancient broad-leaved woodland. The Forest of Dean and Worcestershire are mentioned amongst the known localities.
As a dedicated photographer of our ‘larger’ invertebrates, (especially those I immediately recognise as being unfamiliar), its always a tremendous thrill to achieve a personal goal. Many of our most handsome beetles are very photogenic, particularly the ‘Longhorns’. Some of the larger Carabids, (Ground-Beetles), are equally attractive, but can be extremely difficult to approach so its always nice when one decides to co-operate for the camera. Amongst the really big Carabids are the genus Carabus. These include the spectacular Violet Ground Beetle, Carabus violaceus. One species I have always longed to find is Carabus granulatus, a large beetle with wonderfully sculpted metallic bronze elytra. Whilst poking about in a rotting birch log in Tiddesley on 20.2.2000 I found a fine specimen; my first! It was very active and infuriatingly difficult to get a good photograph. A return to Tiddesley on 5.3.2000 revealed another! This was a bigger example, from rotting Scots Pine, and much less agitated so I was able to get just the shots I wanted.
Paul Whitehead informs me that all large Carabus species have declined in number over recent years.
With grateful thanks to Mr. P.F.Whitehead for his expertise and guidance.
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