Friday, 15 August 2008

Cromwell Bottom LNR

We were supposed to hold a family event at Cromwell Bottom LNR looking at Grassland minibeasts. Unfortunately (or fortunately, it's up to you) there was no takers, so we spend a wonderful afternoon on Tag Loop and on the footpath to Cromwell Lock with lots of butterflies and dragonflies around.


Gatekeeper - 20+
Speckled wood - 20+
Meadow Brown - 20+
Small Skipper - 3
Large White - 4
Common Blue (female) - 1
Wall Brown - 1
Peacock - 3
Comma - 4
Small Copper - 1

Red Darter
Common Darter
Common blue damselflies
Hawkers (common hawker, but other species as well) - 20+

Also came across a burrowing beetle Nicrophorus investigator (above)which had just found a shrew and on returning about 40 minutes later was well on the way to burrowing it completely.


Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

Hi Chris
I think your Nicrophorus investigator is actually N. vespilliodes. N.investigator has bright orange "knobs or clubs" on its antennae and the shape of interupted posterior band and its entirely black antennae I think confirms N.vespilliodes as the most likly candidate. HTH

Paul T

Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

Hi Chris
Just relooked at your Nicrophorus photo in full size and spotted what looks like a coleophorid case with larva in situ just to the right bottom of the beetle, don't suppose you saved this did you ?

Chris said...


Thanks for the ID, the book I have only had this beetle in so I wrongly assumed there would be no other similar critter.

Sorry to say I was that excitied to find the beetle and look at it,I completely missed the case. This will teach me to just look at the larger invertebrates.


Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

Hi Chris
There are various "black with orange markings" carrion beetles. All (I think) have orange tips to the antennae except for N.vespillides. Most stink due to their carrion feeding habits and most are covered with mites. I used to get loads in the MV moth trap and removed them with forceps as they left tubs and pots stinking :-(( A good way to attract these beetles to a mini beast hunt is to lay out pop socks with fish heads, etc inside them a few hours before your trip. Usually you will find the pop socks covered with various carrion feeding/breeding beetles around them...tinned dog food also works well as an attractant. They are rather revolting in habit but fascinating to study. Most coleopterists when out on a joint field trip invariably ask "seen any dead animals about" as they like nothing better than poking around in rotting animals looking for interesting beetles....which is why I chose to study lepidoptera :-))