The Orange Ladybird and the Harlequin Ladybird

In the UK there are 47 species of ladybird!

Here are a couple from my garden yesterday.

The species on the left is the Harlequin  Ladybird and the one on the right is the Orange Ladybird

The Harlequin Ladybird is the is an invasive species – it is a non native species and is a threat to our native species.

The Orange Ladybird is associated with oaks and ash.

All ladybirds are predators of insects such as aphids.

Beetles of Britain and Ireland vol 4 – longhorn beetles and weevils

When I was at the Bird Fair at Rutland Water a week or so ago I was delighted to find that the second volume of Andrew Duff’s epic series on the Beetles of Britain and Ireland had been published. When complete it will consist of four volumes covering all the species of British beetles.

Beetles vol 1
The first volume (Volume 1) was published in 2012 and included beetle families such as ground beetles, diving beetles, hister beetles and carrion beetles. The series is privately published by Andrew Duff.

Beetles vol 4 1
The second volume (which is actually volume 4) covers the longhorn beetles, leaf beetles and all the different types of weevil – the book is 623 pages long.

Beetles vol 4 2
As you would expect the book contains keys to the sub-families and keys to enable you to determine the species of beetle you have found. Up to this point people interested in longhorn beetles have had to rely on earlier books such as Joy’s 1932 A Practical Handbook of British Beetles (reprinted in 1976),  various European books such as the bilingual German text by Ulrich Bense – Longhorn Beetles or the excellent 2 part paper in British Wildlife Magazine by Andrew Duff (British Wildlife Volume 18 pp406-414 and Volume 19 pp35-43 -2007). This new volume is now up to date with the current taxonomy and species status.

Beetles vol 4 3
In addition to the text and numerous annotated sketches the book contains marvellous colour plates of museum specimens.

As mentioned above volume 4 also contains the leaf beetles and all the weevil families as well – a series of groups I am much less familiar with.

The text on the back of the book states “The book is intended as a reference source for coleopterists, ecological consultants and museum curatorial staff, as well as naturalists wishing to make their transition from a casual to a more serious interest in beetles. By bringing together reliable modern keys and using the latest taxonomic arrangement and nomenclature, it is hoped that beginning coleopterists will more quickly learn how to identify beetles and gain added confidence in their identification.”

This volume and the series to date is a magnum opus. Andrew Duff has produced a fantastic piece of work and we should be very grateful to him for his endeavours. Volume 4 is not cheap (£98) but for a 623 page book produced to such a high standard with a limited audience this is to be expected. I obtained my copy from Atropos – see here.

A large Burying Beetle

There was a large Burying Beetle in my moth trap this morning – it was about an inch long. Burying beetles are scavengers and carnivores – often burying the corpses of dead mice and birds which they and their larvae then feed off.

Burying beetle Nicrophorus humator 1
This is Nicrophorus humator – it is one of the few all back species but is characterised by its orange clubbed antennae

Burying beetle Nicrophorus humator 2It was a very lively individual which quickly scuttled away when I released it from the pot – thus the rather poor photographs