Monday, 14 April 2014

Ptinus sexpunctatus an association with Anthophora plumipes?

Ptinus sexpunctatus 14/04/2014 Stoke Weir Notts. 
Decent weather once more here in Nottinghamshire so another annual pilgrimage, this time to see a rather large colony of the Hairy Footed Flower Bee, Anthophora plumipes. These bees are probably the most active bees I know, constantly on the move and very rarely settling for a rest.  The site in question is a clay bank just downstream of Stoke Weir.  Here regular falls of clay leave plenty of bare clay, an ideal substrate in which the Bees can burrow.  Also present were a good number of the Cuckoo Bee Melecta albifrons.  These regularly inspect the holes created by the hairy footed's in the hope of stealing their way in to lay their own eggs in the provisions left by their host.  The highlight was however not the bees but a tiny 3 mm beetle Ptinus sexpunctatus.  I spotted this little chap scuttling across the clay, so a licked finger and a slight press onto its body and the beetle was potted for later identification.  Ptinus sexpunctatum is normally associated with the mining bees of the genus Osmia, and to date I have not been able to find a published reference to its association with Anthophora. It is described in Joy (1932), the bible for British coleopterists, as rare, south east England.   A nice new find for me and a good start to the new season.  Also included are a few other photographs from the day, couple of decent studies of Melecta a photograph of the jumping spider Salticus scenicus and finally guess the animal the teeth are from.
Melecta albifrons Stoke Weir Notts 14th April 2014 

Melecta albifrons 14th april 2014, Stoke Weir 

Melecta albifrons Stoke Weir 14th April 2014 
Salticus scenicus with prey 14th April 2014 Stoke Weir 

Guess the animal? Skull found 14th April 2014

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