Invertebrate Notes October 2023

A selection of notable records reported to Tanyptera. Includes older, but newly recognised regional vice county records (dates blue). ‘The region’ = VC58, 59, 60 + Cheshire, Lancs, Merseyside, Greater Manchester.

Coleoptera (Beetles)

 Hydrochara caraboides (Hydrophilidae), Near Chester, Cheshire, VC58, 17/10 , D. Bentley
  • Species listed as endangered in the red book of insects (Shirt, 1987), and only 160 NBN Atlas records. The majority of records are from Cheshire (VC58 area).
  • Adults (up to 15mm) prefer still deep ponds with vegetation, in peaty areas that are unlikely to dry out. Young and eggs are often found in shallow ditches which often dry out quickly and have overhanging vegetation.
  • The ‘silver’ in their name comes from their appearance underwater from using aqua phobic hairs on the underside of their bodies to trap air bubbles trap bubbles as part of their elaborate breathing system.
  • Adults feed on decaying plant matter whereas larvae are carnivorous on water snails.
  • Despite living in water, this species is not well adapted for swimming. However, the adults are very good fliers
Cryptolestes ferrugineus (Laemophloeidae), Dunham Massey, Trafford, VC58, 11/10, C. Washington
Lech Boroweic (CCO)
  • Under-recorded in the UK with only 203 records listed on NBN Atlas and only 6 records within the VC58 – VC60 area according on iRecord.
  • Adults are cold-hardy and fly well in warm temperatures. They can often be found in stored grain though prefer to be around high moisture grain or damp decaying foods.
  • Lays up to 400 eggs at a time in produce, frequently in cracks in grain which it proceeds to damage making this species a pest and target of IPM strategies.
Microdota benickiella (Staphylinidae), Dunham Massey, Trafford, VC58, 11/10, C. Washington
Morten Hansen (CCO)
  • Only 14 recorded instances of this species in the UK according to GBIF, three of which in the VC58 – VC60 area.
  • Inhabits lowland areas and mountainous areas at lower altitudes
  • Can be found on mushrooms and sometimes on forest floors.
Ocalea Rivularis (Staphylinidae), Lymm, Cheshire, VC58, 21/10, C. Washington
Udo Schmidt (CCO)
  • Only 2 instances of species in the VC58 – VC60 according to NBN Atlas, and 40 records overall in the UK.
  • Lack of readily available information found on life history strategies
Stenus Incrassatus (Staphylinidae), West Cheshire, VC58, 30/10, D.Bentley
  • Second known record in the VC58-VC60 area, with the first record dating back to 1919, where it was presumably found on the bank of the river Tame (see below).
  • Only 119 records listed in the UK on NBN Atlas.
  • Initial record shows individual found on a FH day at Arden hall in Bredbury, dating back to 1919
  • Found in some moist situations such as peat bogs, river banks, alder forests, and can also be found on shores of ponds and under rotting plant matter or amongst mosses.
(Harry Britten record card in Manchester Museum)

Mollusca (Snails, Slugs etc.)

Omphiscola glabra (Lymnaeidae), Near Chester, Cheshire, VC58, 17/10 , D. Bentley
David Bentley (CCO)
  • Formerly widespread throughout acidic lowland areas of England, Wales and central Scotland, it is now rare with the largest concentration of records coming from the southern part of the vale of York.
  • Prefers ponds with low calcium content, or waters with poor nutrient concentrations on acidic sand or gravely soils.
  • Eggs are laid in February and may take up to 25 days to hatch due to dependence on weather condition change. Extreme flooding or draught events can cause fluctuations in numbers.
  • Lives on a diet of mainly bacteria, diatoms and other micro-organisms, though has been observed feeding on aquatic plants.

Diptera (Flies)

Polietes meridionalis (Muscidae), Hesketh Road, Marshside, Southport, VC59, 23/10, P. Smith
Phil Smith (CCO)
  • Fairly recent addition to the British list, only being separated from P. lardarius in 2015.
  • Limited recordings in the VC58 – VC60 area, with only six sightings within the last seven years.
  • 54 NBN Atlas records, with this the first Sefton Coast sighting.
  • Commonly around cattle pastures. Can be found sunning on walls, fences and vegetation.
  • Adults breed in dung and are also attracted to stinkhorn fungi.
Asphondylia sarothamni (Cecidomyiidae), Ashtons Flashes, Northwich, VC58 , 31/10, C. Reiki
Chris Reiki (CCO)
  • Rarely recorded in the VC58 – VC60 area with only three previous observations.
  • 74 NBN Atlas and iRecord records.
  • This midge causes Galls to form on Broom (Cytisus scoparius). Larvae feed on the mycelial lining of gall before emergence.
  • Galls form early in the year and adults emerge in June or July, proceeding to oviposit on rudimentary buds, repeating the cycle with eggs remaining dormant until the proceeding February or March.

Hemiptera (True Bugs)

 Troilus luridus (Pentatomidae), Hesketh Road, Marshside, Southport, VC59, 29/10, P. Smith
Phil Smith (CCO)
  • Adults recorded all year round, though not commonly after September.
  • One of the four carnivorous shield bugs in the UK. Feeds on sap as a nymph though develops an appetite for caterpillars and other grubs in later stages.
  • Found on trees in both deciduous and coniferous woodland.
  • 86 records on iRecord and 101 on NBN Atlas for the region.

Orthoptera (Grasshoppers and Crickets)

Meconema meridionale (Southern Oak Bush Cricket) (Tettigoniidae), Handbridge, Chester, VC58, J. Delf
Will Atkins (CCO)
  • Recent addition to the UK. First recorded in Surrey and Berkshire in 2001 and recorded as far north as Nottinghamshire by 2012.
  • Not yet commonly recorded in VC58-VC60, where only 23 listed records in the area according to iRecord and 10 on NBN Atlas. Most UK records come from SE England.
  • Arboreal species found in oak woodland and amongst other deciduous trees and hedgerow shrubs, most frequent in summer. Carnivorous and nocturnal, a predator of the horse chestnut leaf miner as well as aphids and other insects. Eggs are deposited in cracks of trees with adults appearing from late July to the first autumnal frosts often in November.

iRecord records summary

GroupNo. of recordsNo. of species
insect – beetle (Coleoptera)24143
insect – true fly (Diptera)21987
insect – hymenopteran17337
insect – true bug (Hemiptera)14243
insect – dragonfly (Odonata)1008
spider (Araneae)8126
harvestman (Opiliones)216
insect – caddis fly (Trichoptera)218

iRecord top 10 species

Scientific NameCommon NameOrderNo. of records
Harmonia axyridisHarlequin LadybirdColeoptera128
Sympetrum striolatumCommon DarterOdonata53
Aeshna mixtaMigrant HawkerOdonata30
Palomena prasinaGreen ShieldbugHemiptera29
Eristalis tenaxDiptera26
Coccinella septempunctata7-spot LadybirdColeoptera24
Araneus diadematusGarden Orb-Web SpiderAraneae24
Vespula vulgarisCommon WaspHymenoptera24
Bombus pascuorumCommon Carder BeeHymenoptera21
Neuroterus quercusbaccarumCommon Spangle GallHymenoptera17