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Archive for the ‘Terrestrial Invertebrates’ Category

Pete the Bug Man talks about his Bioblitz experience in 60 seconds.

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Late nights and bright lights – sound like your average Saturday evening? Not if you’re with the Bristol Moth Group, who were up into the wee hours surveying moths with light traps. Here’s a look at who they are and what they got up to.

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Check out some of the One Minute Interviews we have conducted over the course of the afternoon…

1. Kathryn, Media Team member

2. Alex, Resident Ornithologist

3. Becky, Guide

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We’re going on a bug hunt, we’re going to find some bugs…

Earlier today Pete Dawson, our resident ‘Bug Man’, led a group of home-schooled students from the local area on an exciting trip through the grasslands of Arnos Vale in search of insects, spiders and all sorts of other creepy-crawlies.

We found plenty of intriguing critters to keep us interested, from wasps and spiders to cardinal beetles and butterflies. We even came across a whole host of harlequin ladybirds mating, and Pete explained to the group about the negative impact these seemingly harmless creatures are having on our own native ladybird population.

Always keen to get people engaged, Pete demonstrated how to use sweep nets, pooters and collection pots, before letting the enthusiastic kids loose in search of their own specimens for him to identify.

“It was very fun, very exhausting and very hot”, said Pete. “But its all about finding things, getting people to understand that the world is just full of weird things!”

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Sarah, Harvey and Oscar

Sarah, Harvey and Oscar

Who are you?
I’m Sarah and these two are Harvey and Oscar.

Why are you here?
Oscar and Harvey are members of the Wraxhall School Wildlife Club so we came today to learn more about wildlife. It’s great to have a local event which gets you outside and hands on with nature.

What has been your favourite thing so far?
We have just been learning about different types of moth and then helping to release them, I think that’s our favourite so far today.

What are you looking forward to later?

Hopefully some surprises and learning lots from all the experts

Learning about moths

Learning about moths

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David Brown examining the holly leaf miner

David Brown examining the holly leaf miner

Finding the species is just the first hurdle. Identifying the species can prove more difficult! We joined David Brown in the struggle to ID a holly leaf miner. There was confusion as to whether subspecies are recognised in the UK.

After much research and head scratching, the answer was given by the Natural History Museum which led to our miner being identified simply as Phytomyza ilicis as no subspecies are found in the UK. Unfortunately this only adds one to our total tally!

Holly leaf with miner

Holly leaf with miner

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Rob and I decided to head for the pond to make a mini-film about pond dipping and all the things you can find there for the blog. You’ll be able to see that film later. With Rob carrying the video cam, I was lumbered with the tripod. However, it wasn’t long before I shoved the tripod into Rob’s capable (and already quite full!) hands so that I could get down on the floor with my macro lens. I was finding things everywhere that demanded my attention!

Green-veined white

Green-veined white butterfly

Ant on leaf

An ant on a leaf

Azure damselfly

Azure damselfly, identified using the unique markings

If you’re wondering if we ever actually made it to the pond with all these great distractions, don’t worry! Here is proof that we did – Rob conducting an interview. Keep an eye out for the video later, and find out who the little guy on the right is! (The right-hand picture, not Rob with the camera!)

Rob conducting an interview

Rob conducting an interview

Who's this little guy? Find out in our video later!

Who's this little guy? Find out in our video later!

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Moth

Phlogophora meticulosa (Angle Shades)

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So, you’re a member of the BioBlitz team and you come across an insect that you’re unsure how to identify. It looks unusual, so you think it might be something new. How do you get it to the experts?

Simple, just carefully pop it in a tube and stick it in your pocket! Here is a bee which had some different markings, so it’s making a journey to the team in the lab as we speak!

Solitary bee

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There are lots of different ways to catch mini beasts. The school children today have been using large nets to sweep through the long grass and then emptying them into a large umbrella. This way you can easily count and identify the catch of the day before they all crawl away.

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Mastering the umbrella technique

Some of the creatures caught were too small to identify but the children definitely had fun trying to catch the escapees in their specimen tubes.

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Result! Although she doesn't look too pleased holding this may bug larva!

Luckily Rhian was on hand to identify the squirming may bug larva that apparently is very tickly to hold!

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Thank goodness for the experts!

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