1st June 2015

Waterhay: Barnacle goose still present in field near CWP 83. Richard Vernon

Note: in recent years colour-ringed Barnacle geese have appeared in the CWP, arising from established feral populations established elsewhere in the UK. If anyone gets a close view of this bird, please check it for colour rings and their inscription please. Thanks. GH

Something a little less ordinary………from John Grearson

“On Saturday I caught an Andrena mining bee in the garden and during the identification process I noticed several tiny parasites clinging to the pollen-collecting hairs, mostly at the back of the thorax. After consulting experts these creatures were found to be Oil Beetle triungulin larvae of the species Meloe rugosus, a Red Data Book species.  The females of this species lay large batches of eggs which hatch out as the triungulin larvae about 0.5 mm long. These climb up flower stems and wait for a mining bee to arrive.  When a bee arrives the triungulins climb onto the bee and hitch a lift into the nest of the bee where they feed on the bee’s pollen provision, thus starving the bee larva.

Beetle expert John Walters has told me that this beetle was thought to be rare until its nocturnal habits were discovered and is now known to be widespread in calcareous areas. He thinks we may have a colony in the garden and to look out for the adults between October and December, searching by torchlight.”

A fascinating account, thank you to John for sharing this.

Oil Beetles have been recorded elsewhere in the CWP, but more records are always welcome. Adults may be more frequently encountered in early spring. [GH]

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