Wednesday 21 February 2024

Life get's in the way...

A fortnight and no blog post has been an unusual event in the last couple of years, but I've struggled with time of late. I've been in shed demolishing mode which has proven to be quite a job, nearly done now, with the remains either ready to be taken to a good home or cut into fire wood. The shed was in fact an old rail truck, rolling stock that no longer rolled, the wheels having long since gone to another place. With a bit more work the space will be a horsebox parking bay.

Anonomised by Ivy.

Shed plaque (and slug - Deroceras reticulatum, I think).

I've also been embroiled in moth stuff. This being the time of year that records pour in. My role as administrative support and verification assistant for the CMR has taken up a lot of time. It is very fortunate that so many folk are prepared to help with identification, huge thanks to BH, MY and RL. And talking of moths another species for the year on the lovely Monday, Ruby Tiger.

Ruby Tiger.

Not the best photo but it was sprinting across the track. Took this on the Pixel 7, it's not so good for this purpose. However, it is phenomenal for taking images down the microscope, especially when a highly magnified image is required.

Male genitalia of Philonthus carbonarius, a Staphylinid beetle. (Incidently, I ran this on Obsidentify just to see what it would come up with and it suggested Philonthus cognatus with 98% certainty; that's wrong but not a bad try!)

Labial palp of a Tachyporus beetle. Detail of the labial palp is useful for identification in this genus.

However, getting the detail of all the spines on the elytra is very tricky. It's easier to draw the pattern to be honest.

Tachyporus elytra, position of spines, as best I can see.

Using Mike Hackston's key and the Roger Booth key (I can't get along with Joy) this comes out as Tachyporus atriceps which might be new to the county.

Pixel microscope image Tachyporus atriceps.

Macro photo of Tachyporus atriceps, 2.8mm.

I've spent a lot of time on three parasitic hymenoptera, and I should be writing up the annual report on these species. I'm trying to dent the backlog in the fridge. With help three have been identified, a possible Hyposoter brischkei (thank you AG and NM), a certain Itoplectis aterrima (thank you JB); both from 2023; and a certain Ichneumon oblongus (thank you AC) found in moss from which I also extracted the above beetles and a Notaris acridulus. The Itoplectis is quite possibly new for Scotland.

I managed to mangle the Itoplectis aterrima rather badly, macro image.

The fore tarsal claws are an important ID feature, Pixel 7 down stereo microscope shot.

Ichneumon oblongus female, a brachypterus individual, macro image.

Face showing the clypeus, important for ID, micro/Pixel 7 image.

Micro/Pixel 7 image meta and mesosoma (T1 and T2), lateral.

On the bird front spring is here with Shelduck and Oystercatchers turning up earlier than ever I think, Black-headed Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls have also been on The Shunan. 

Shelduck, drakes disputing territory.

 There's now a pair settled on The Shunan.

The farm have been cleaning out all the ditches, making The Shunan shallower, it will certainly be more suitable for waders this spring

Oh, and I gave a talk about photography and microscopes to the Field Club, I'll pdf it and put it on a page of this blog.

1 comment:

martinf said...

I'm with you. Life has really got in the way of my natural history over the last few months. But that's just life and natural history is always there to come back to