I'm supposed to be clearing out stuff in preparation for moving, although we have not yet sold our home. And I am doing a bit of that, but it's slow work. I have a fab Nikon 82 Fieldscope for sale on eBay at the moment... and am about to put a Scopac on there, it's pretty much as good as new.
I should also be clearing out the specimens in my fridge as well. That's a slow job. Most of the tubes in there do contain identified material, but not all.
|Yes, the specimens are amongst the beer and the butter.|
I'm trying not to catch too much at the moment, but creatures come my way. I was weeding the parking area yesterday and noticed this Carabid. Now, I can usually do those in a few minutes, but not this time, I'm stuck. It looks like Anisodactylus binotatus but it has glabrous third antennal segment and I can't see any hairs on the elytra. It keys to Pterostichus but it doesn't fit any of them. I'm making a mistake somewhere in the key.
|Large Carabid, causing me something of an ID struggle. Curtonotus aulicus.|
I'll get there eventually. (Which I did, with the beetle dead I could then look at it upside down and see that the penultimate segment of the labial palps had three or more large setae, almost impossible to see on a live animal.) Pretty sure I have seen this species before, not very common in Orkney though, it will be 1980s when I last saw one, Curtonotus aulicus.
I have had some beetle success, two new for me (NFM).
|Harpalus latus which is common enough but I'm pretty certain I've not seen it before.|
And this was a little tricky, small and I started off in the wrong family but got there in the end. This was in the FUN pheromone trap which seems to be catching everything of interest currently.
|Rubbish image of the male bits, very helpful for ID.|
|Contacyphon coarctatus, 3.9mm of Scirtiidae, a family I've seen none or very few of previously. a NFM species anyway.|
Quite a good number of records for Orkney. In the key the elytral ridges are important, they are subtle and hard to make out, so it's easy to end up in the wrong couplet.
Also out of the FUN recently some Hymenoptera. Help got me to Braconidae and to Alysiinae (thank you ATM). Then a Mike Hackston key which eventually, I had to be put right at couplet 5 (thanks MJ) got me to genus Alysia. There is a key to these I think, but behind a pay wall :-( If anyone would be happy to mail be a copy of either or both of these:
Anyway both animals, although having very different antennae, male very long and 47 flagellomeres, female more normal and 35-36 flagellomeres, were the same species. Wacky jaws on these, they are parasitoids of Diptera, particularly those of dead things, Caliphorridae and the like, the Hymenoptera are, in this case part of the entomofaunal colonisation of dead bodies.
|Alysia sp, male with very long antennae, which are weirdly thickened for the terminal 22 or 23 flagellomeres.|
|Alysia sp, male, detail of head, thorax and T1.|
|Female, Alysia sp showing the tridentate mandible, the mandible is typical of Alysiinae.|
Not much else going on really. The moth traps are catching much of what I would expect at this time of year. Birding highlight is Pintail with 9 chicks on patch, super smart.
Lots of fledged about at the moment, as well as Pintail and Wren, Coot, Song Thrush, Robin, Mallard, Greylag.
|Wren, just fledged.|