Monday, 20 May 2013

Trent Valley Reed Beetles - Donacia simplex, vulgaris and clavipes.

Donacia simplex on Burr Reed Holme Pierrepont Notts 19th May 2013. 

 Twenty one species of reed beetle are known to occur in the UK, of which 15 occur in the genera Donacia. Of these I have found three species during my ramblings along the Trent Valley, namely Donacia simplex, D. vulgaris and D. clavipes. They are medium sized metallic coloured beetles, usually found near water and all associated with  water plants.  The most common in Nottinghamshire and along the River Trent is D. simplex.  From mid-May through to end of June they can readily be seen feeding mating and just hanging around on Burr Reed.  Good spots to find them are the Gravel pits around Holme Pierrepont, along the Banks of the River itself above Stoke Lock whilst good populations exist at Colwick country park where they are pretty common along the old course of the Trent, known locally as Colwick loop.  A similar species D. vulgaris can also be found in the same spots, very similar to simplex it can be most easily distinguished by the violet to blue streak, one on both elytra (the hard modified protective wing case).  This species like simplex uses Burr reed as the larval food plant.  The only other species I have encountered was the nationally scarce reed beetle D. clavipes,  I found one of these chaps at Skylarks nature reserve.  This beetle feeds on Phragmites australis, "common reed" plentiful at the skylarks site.  However further searches have so far proved fruitless.

I also found quite a pretty fly whilst out, the Pond Olive, thought I had a nice photo, but the specimen I photographed was damaged it should have two whip like tails projecting form its rear end.  They appear to be missing. Whether it lost these on emergence or lost them to attempted predation I'll never know. Still it's a curious fly and makes a good study. 

Pond Olive "Cloeon dipterum" May 19th Home Pierrpont Notts. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I have just seen Donicia clavipes listed as a new species for the county on notts at Attenborough nature reserve, might be worth emailing them quick to tell them you have found this species before :)