26 April, 2014

Heathland invertebrates

I've only just got round to sorting through a load of photographs from a mid-week invertebrate session on Fairmile Common- a local patch of heathland and oak woodland which supports a fantastic range of gorse feeding insects, notably London's only population of Silver-studded Blue.

Alas, it was slightly too early for Silver-studded Blue when I visited on Wednesday, but there were plenty of other flying things on the heather and gorse to be studied, including two colourful tortrix moths: Cydia ulicetana and Grapholita internana. Despite both species utilising common heathers and gorse as their foodplant, C. ulicetana is much more widely recorded in Surrey than the latter species, which is only known from a small number of heaths in the north of the county, including Esher (and Fairmile) Commons. There is no shortage of heathland throughout Surrey, so G. internana is either a genuinely scarce species in the county, or just severely under-recorded...

Cydia ulicetana resting on Juniper Haircap moss. 

Grapholita internana

Nearby, Swammerdamia caesiella was swept from the leaves of its Silver Birch foodplant, and a single Gorse Shieldbug was perched up on a sunny patch of nettle. Every sweep of the heather would dislodge a beetle or two, with Lochmaea suturalis (the aptly named Heather Beetle) and Exapion ulicis (another conveniently named Gorse Weevil) easily the most numerous Coleoptera on the Common.

Swammerdamia caesiella 

Gorse Shieldbug

Exapion ulicis

Small number of Neliocarus sus were mixed in with the hundreds of Lochmaea suturalis that fell into the net.

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