Tuesday, 8 January 2013

On The Hunt in 2013

Jewel Beetle - Agrilus biguttatus  by Lamia textor
Agrilus biguttatus Sherwood Forest Nottinghamshire June 2011
Each year I set myself the task of finding an interesting beetle that I haven't seen before in the county.  The search usually begins by leafing through a copy of Carr (1916) "The Invertebrate Fauna of Nottinghamshire", an indispensable guide for any half serious coleopterist in the county.  The book contains thousands of entries detailing the whereabouts of everything ever found in the county that lacked a backbone from bivalves to butterflies.  I find a beetle in the book that some Nottinghamshire clergyman found c19th century and has remained unrecorded for the best part of a hundred years. I then spend the best part of the summer trying to find it again.  Notable triumphs include rediscovery of Aromia moschata along the Trent, discovery of oil beetles on Budby Heath and of one of the Nottinghamshire jewel beetles Agrilus angustulus.  However for all the successes many of my yearly searches have proved fruitless or result in partial success.  I looked for the impressive jewel beetle Agrilus biguttatus in and around Sherwood Forest for several years, I'd worked out the trees it infested but couldn't find it. It took Trevor Pendleton of Eakring Birds to send me an email to inform me of a large emergence whilst I was at work. One minor panic later and apologies to all at work that I had to leave early and I'd seen them in all their beauty.  If any of you birders out there get the same feeling as me for a new bird then I can certainly understand the thrill you get. 

As for this year it's the little black scarab beetle Trox scaber that gets my attention.  It's not a beetle you can hunt but more one you can entrap.  It loves Owls nests or in particular the bones and crap you can find in raptors nests.  I have already tried to find it in previous years. I've made false nests in holes in trees furnished them with bones from the butchers, but to date no Trox , although plenty of beetles of other types including no shortage of burying beetles.  2013 is going to be the year I find it. Possibly!

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