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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 35

NOTABLE SAPROXYLIC BEETLES (COLEOPTERA) FROM ASPAL CLOSE, BECK ROW, NEAR MILDENHALL, SUFFOLK. R. COLIN WELCH On 28th May 1997 I was contractcd by Forest Hcath District Council, Mildcnhall, to survey a site they owned at Aspal Close, Beck Row, Suffolk (TL/700773), to establish what saproxylic species of Coleoptera were present The site is approximately 19 ha (47 acres) in extent, the southern third of which IS open grassland and dry heath with a few groups of old pollarded oaks. An area to the north-west is maintained as a football pitch, but the central region contains numerous oak pollards and scrub forming a type of pasturcwoodland. There are 182 pollarded oaks on the site and a further 43 in the gardens of surrounding private properties. Only four oaks outside the Close were omitted from a Tree Preservation Order. Local knowledge indicates that oaks were still being regularly pollarded up until 1961. There is very little dead timber either in the crowns or on the ground. The site is currently managed for public amenity, mainly for the residents of the surrounding houses. Unfortunately such access has resulted in vandalism in which several hol low trees have been burned. One tree was even burnt between my first visit on 28th May and my return on 17th June 1997. Very little is known of the history of this unique site. Even Oliver Rackham was unaware of its existence until he visited it on 24th June 1997. As most dead wood appears to be quickly removed from the site, probably for firewood, habitats for saproxylic beetles are few, being mainly restricted to wood mould and other residues within hollows in the oaks. The open nature of the site, and the dry sandy soils, results in rapid desiccation of the bark on any dead branches. This greatly reduces the period that they are suitable for the colomsation and rearing of many saproxylic species. Neverthelcss, a total of 55 species of saproxylic Coleoptera were either recorded during my two day visits or were collected in the water traps placed in hollows in the crowns of 15 of the oak pollards from 17-24 June 1997. In the following list of 19 saproxylic species most are placed in the "Nationally Notable (Scarce)" category ofHyman & Parsons (1992, 1994), i e they are known from between 16 and 100 10-km squares of the National Grid. Some of these have been placed in a subdivision, "Notable B" for those species known from 31-100 grid squares. Only one Red Data Book species, Tetrops starkĂź Chevr., was recorded from the site. This is placed in category RDBK Insufficiently Known, as it is a recent addition to the British fauna. During their review of Pasture-Woodlands Harding & Rose (1986) produced a list of 196 predominantly saproxylic species of Coleoptera which they regarded as Indicators of Ancient Woodland. One species, Scraptia testacea Allen, is classed as AW1 - which indicates a species only known recently from ancient woodland, mainly pasturewoodland. A further 8 species are classed as AW3 - for species which, although occurring widely in wooded land, are collectively characteristic of ancient woodland with dead wood habitats.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 35

(1999)


SAPROXYLIC BEETLES FROM ASPAL CLOSE

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Given the paucity of suitable habitats rcadily accessible to study during my two brief Visits to Aspal Close, the total of 55 saproxylic species recordcd cannot be regarded as anything like comprehcnsive. There can be little doubt that further Visits in different scasons, and during a less dry year, will add many more notable species to those in the following list. The order and nomenclature follows Kloet & Hincks (1977). PTILIIDAE - Nossidium pilosellum (Marsh.) [N] 1 in wood mould in hollow oak, 28.v.; Pt ine IIa denticollis (Fairm.) [N] 2 under bark of roots of dead Standing oak, 3 under bark of fallen oak bough, 17.vi.. BUPRESTIDAE - Agrilus angulatus (III.) or A. laticornis (III.) [both Nb] one of these two closely related species was beaten from oak foliage on 17.vi. but flew off before it could be tubed and its specific identity confirmed. ELATERIDAE - Stenagostus rhombeus (Ol.) [AW3] 3 larvae under bark of oak branches on ground, 28.v., 1 adult and 1 larva under bark of rotted dead oakbranch, 17.vi.. EUCNEMIDAE - Melasis buprestoides (L.) [Nb, AW3] 2 dead in exit holes in exposed dry seasoned wood of isolated hollow oak, 17.vi.. CANTHARIDAE - Rhagonycha lutea (MĂźll.) [Nb] 1 9 beating eider blossom, 17.vi.; Malthinus frontalis (Marsh.) [Nb] IC? 1 9 beating eider blossom, 1 9 beating oak foliage, 17.vi.. DERMESTIDAE - Ctesias serra (F.) [Nb, AW3] 1 larva in wood mould under dead jackdaw in hollow oak, larval exuviae in other hollow trees, 17.vi.. ANOBIIDAE - Ptinomorphus imperialis (L.) [Nb] 1 beating dead ivy on ground removed from oak, 28.v.; Xestobium mfovillosum (Deg.) "the death watch beetle" [AW3] 4 larvae and 1 pupa in rotten oak log on ground, 28.v., dead adults abundant in wood mould in hollow oaks and almost every oak with exposed dry dead timber is riddled with emergence holes on both dates; Anobium inexpectatum Lohse [Nb] 5 C e f 1 9 in thick ivy stem cut from oak, 28.v.. CLERIDAE - Korynetes caeruleus (Deg.) [Nb, AW3] 1 beating oak foliage, 1 dead in wood mould under dead jackdaw in hollow oak, 17. vi.. MELYRIDAE - Dasytes plumbeus beneath oak, 28.v..

(MĂźll.) [Nb] 1 beating elder blossom

TENEBRIONIDAE - Prionychus ater (F.) [Nb, AW3] part speeimens and 1 3rd instar larva in wood mould in hollow oak, 17.vi., 3 adults in water traps in hollow oak pollards, 17-24.vi.. SCRAPTIIDAE - Scraptia testacea Allen [RDB3, AW1] 1 beating oak foliage, 1 beating elder blossom, 17.vi., 1 cf in water trap in hollow oak pollard 17-24.vi.. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 35 (1999)


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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 35

ADERIDAE - Aderus occulatus (Pk.) [Nb, AW3] 4C?C? 2 9 9 beating eider blossom, 1 9 beating oak foliage, 17.vi., 1 9 in water trap in hollow oak pollard, 17-24. vi.. CERAMBYCIDAE - Phymatodes testaceus (L.) [AW3] part specimen under bark of roots of dead standing oak, 17.vi.; Tetrops starkii Chevr. [RDBK] 1 9 beating hawthorn around base of oak pollard, 28.vi.. This is only the second locality from which this species has been recorded in Britain. A Single specimen was beaten from oak near Burford, Oxfordshire by Tom Harrison on 1 June 1991 (1992). Recently I discovered a pair in my own collection which I swept from ride-side Vegetation in Monks Wood National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire (Vice County 31, Huntingdonshire) on 15 June 1995 (Welch, 1998). CURCULIONIDAE - Magdalis cerasi (L.) [Nb] 6 beating hawthorn hedge along east margin, 1 beating hawthorn around base of oak pollard, 28. v.. Acknowledgments I am grateful to Mr Roger Goulding of Forest Heath District Council for providing the opportunity to collect beetles at Aspal Close; also to Mr Richard Champion, Senior Warden for Aspal Close, for accompanying me during part of my survey, and for collecting the water traps; also to Mr Paul Harding for transporting the samples. References Harding, P. T. & Rose, F. (1986). Pasture-woodlands in lowland Britain. Abbots Ripton: Institute of Terrestrial Ecology. Harrison, T. D. (1992). Tetrops starkii Chevr. (Col., Cerambycidae) new to Britain. Entomologist's mon. Mag., 128: 181-183. Hyman, P. S. & Parsons, M. S. (1992). A review of the scarce and threatened Coleoptera of Great Britain (Part 1). Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Hyman, P. S. & Parsons, M. S. (1994). A review of the scarce and threatened Coleoptera of Great Britain (Part 2). Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Kloet, G. S. & Hincks, W. D. (1977). A Check List of British Insects, Second Edition, Part 3: Coleoptera and Strepsiptera, Revised by R. D. Pope, Handbk. Ident. Br. Insects. 11 (Part 3), Royal Entomological Society of London. Welch, R. C. (1998). Tetrops starkii Chevr. (Coleoptera; Cerambycidae) in Suffolk and Huntingdonshire. Entomologist's Ree. J. Var., 110: 283-284. Dr R. Colin Welch The Mathom House Hemington Peterborough PE8 5QJ

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 35

(1999)

Notable saproxylic beetles (Coleoptera) from Aspal Close, Beck Row, near Mildenhall, Suffolk  

Welch, R. C.

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