Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ampthill Park

The status and distribution of some insects can go through dramatic changes. One such is this beauty with its yellow pronotum stripe: the Roesel's Bush-cricket which, until the 1980s, was only found near to the coast in eastern and south-eastern England. Since then it has spread inland and is now common in many of its favoured damp grassy habitats in Bedfordshire, including the Flushes at Ampthill Park where its high-pitched song...imagine standing under an electricity pylon in the heard. Why Roesel's? It was named after a German entomologist, Johann Rosel von Rosenhof.
Andy & Melissa Banthorpe were also around. Andy swept this Drinker Moth caterpillar from the grassland - it was tiny...I'm used to seeing the big 'granddaddy' caterpillars! We also found a Drinker Moth pupa that had been parasitised. The most interesting sighting for me was a very small patch of water and mud that was attracting several species of Hoverfly: Episyrphus balteatus, Meliscaeva auricollis, Platycheirus albimanus, Dasysyrphus albostriatus, a number of Syrphus species and, most frustratingly, an individual which was either Melangyna cincta or Meliscaeva cinctella, either of which would be a new species for the Park...I knew I should have taken my net!

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