Liophloeus tessulatus, left, typical form, right, form maurus
Although the overall title of my blog is Trent Valley Beetles their has in my honest opinion been a dearth of articles on beetles. Well here's one to redress the balance. Went for a walk along the River Trent at Shelford this afternoon after a morning trip up to Sheffield to pick up my son who has just finished his 3rd year reading Ecology at the University of Sheffield. My son suggested the walk has he has been poring over books and papers since Christmas and has not been out and about much at all. Took the beating tray and sweep net for this trip but to be honest didn't use them a deal. Plenty of Wasp beetles around, picture of one on Himalayan Balsam at the bottom of the blog. However the beetle that got me going was the black job on the right of the photograph, top left. At about 10mm its quite a big beast which was sitting on a hogweed leaf. Now a black weevil about 10mm is an unusual thing in this neck of the woods, so into the pot it went. At home a session on the microscope and a determination of species gave me "Liophloeus tessulatus". Now I'm pretty familiar with this weevil in its typical form, the beetle on the left of the photograph, which is clothed in scales and tessellated. My black specimen though threw me out, however the Morris's keyto Broad nosed Weevils gave the following description of a form of L. tessulatus "dark weevils lacking most of the clothing of scales and in which the black derm shows clearly are f. maurus. A nice find and now part of my reference collection.
Clytus arietis - The wasp beetle, Shelford Notts, 31.May 2013