A diary of my mothing activity covering highlights and photos from my moth trapping activities. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I may mention other wildlife sightings here, especially insects, but for birds see my birding diary.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

A Springtail and Gorse Weevils

Springtails are among the most abundant of all insects, apparently.  A whole order of insects that are all around us and most of us don't even know it.  A couple of nature-people I've mentioned them to hadn't even heard of them and I was no more than vaguely aware of them.  But they say there are around 100,000 in every cubic meter of topsoil!

Anyway, on Thursday evening I came across an online key for mosses and went into the garden to find some moss to try it out with.  I found three species of moss in the garden but the key, or rather my application of it, was a total failure.  In the end I think I managed to identify Bicoloured Bryum Bryum dichotomum from the paving slabs (having fallen off the roof I think) using other online sources but the ones growing in the lawn remain a mystery.

Bicoloured Bryum Bryum dichotomum (I think), North Elmham, 7th April

However, while looking at the moss I noticed a beetle poke its head out from the moss briefly before disappearing back into it.  In trying to knock it out so that I could see it properly (which I never did) I knocked out a few very tiny insects.  I think one was a (different) Rove Beetle but that scarpered leaving a couple of jumpy things which I identified as Springtails.  Absolutely no idea what species of Springtail.

Springtail, North Elmham, 7th April

Edit 21st April: 
Having obtained a key to Springtail families I've narrowed this down to Isotomidae.  That narrows it down to 112 species!  It looks like various online examples of Isotomurus plumosus and may well be that common species, but for all I know the other 111 might look like this too!  I've also discovered that the latest thinking says that Springtails aren't insects at all but in a class of their own.

Also found a Varied Carpet Beetle in the bathroom, my first this year.  Odd how I always find these in the bathroom, the one upstairs room that doesn't have a carpet.  Maybe I find them because they're busy looking for carpets and the ones in the other rooms are tucked away out of sight in the carpets and breeding.  No obvious sign of damage though, here or in my last house where I saw several every year.

The moth trap didn't deliver very much on Thursday night: 2 Small Quakers, 2 Clouded Drabs and Hebrew Character.

Friday lunchtime was warm(ish) and sunny(ish) so I had a wander round Syderstone Common.  Couldn't find any moths but 1 Brimstone butterfly.  I found a couple of tiny Weevils on Gorse flowers which in the field I thought looked greenish like Phyllobius species.  But on closer inspection later on the one I retained was more black-and-white with only a slight hint of green, and the structure was wrong for Phyllobius.  My first attempts at identifying it didn't get very far but googling "Gorse Weevil" did the job - it was a Gorse Weevil Exapion ulicis, the first time I've seen this (probably very common) species.

Gorse Weevil Exapion ulicis, Syderstone Common, 9th April

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