Page 1


Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 41 Aculeate Hymenoptera Recorders’ Report for 2003/2004

2003 The highlight of 2003 was undoubtedly the discovery of a species new to Britain, as reported in British Wildlife (Volume 15 No. 3, February 2004). Throughout the summer, the author undertook a survey the aculeates of Maidscross Hill near Lakenheath and, in early July, a species of sphecid wasp within the genus Miscophus was taken, which clearly did not conform to either of the two known British species. The specimen was provisionally identified as Miscophus bicolor Jurine, by both Peter Harvey of the Essex Field Club and George Else at the Natural History Museum London. This was then confirmed by Prof. S. Gayubo at the University of Salamanca in Spain, an authority on the European Miscophus. The specimen now resides in the Natural History Museum London collection. A paper on this species and a revised key to British Miscophus will hopefully appear in the British Journal of Entomology and Natural History shortly. The survey at Maidscross Hill also turned up many other interesting county records. These included:

• The mining bee Andrena alfkenella a nationally rare (Red Data Book, RDB3 – Rare) species that has only been recorded at one other site in Suffolk, namely the Center Parcs at Elveden. • The ruby-tailed wasp Chrysis [Chrysogona] gracillima, RDB2 – Vulnerable and a new county record • The digger wasp Crossocerus palmipes, Nationally Scarce (Nb) and a new county record • The mason wasp Microdynerus exilis, also Nationally Scarce (Nb) and only the second county record • Halictus confusus, a nationally rare (RDB3 – Rare) mining bee which, in Suffolk is restricted to a very few sites in Breckland. (Statuses as per Falk, 1991). There were a number of other new species added to the county list during 2003. The author took a specimen of the mining bee Andrena nigrospina from the Kings Forest, the bee Anthophora quadrimaculata from Chillesford Churchyard and a very small and nationally rare (RDB3 – Rare) digger wasp Diodontus insidiosus from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s reserve at Wortham Ling. During a Dipterists’ Forum Field Meeting at Hengrave Hall, held between 11 and 18 of July, Neil Robinson took a specimen of the digger wasp Mimumesa spooneri, a nationally rare (RDB3 – Rare) species for which there are no other recent records in East Anglia. Claude Morley (1935) does include reference to “Psen unicolor” which probably refers to this species, with three locations from the early 1900s. 2004 The more unpredictable weather and other distractions meant that this was a relatively quiet year for recording, although a few significant finds were still made. Notable finds include the first modern records for two species. Morley (1936) described the mining bee Andrena helvola as being “sufficiently common”, but I know of no other records since, until I took separate Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 41 (2005)



specimens at Great Cornard near Sudbury and also at Dunwich Heath. It doubtless still occurs at other sites across the county. The digger wasp Argogorytes mystaceus was, however, deemed to be only “locally common” (Morley, 1935). A single specimen was taken in June from Corton Cliffs in the north-east of the county. Morley considered the small spider-hunting wasp Agenioideus cinctellus to be very rare, with the only cited example being that it had been taken by Edward Saunders at Southwold, without any reference to date. Prior to 2004 our sole record came from Risby Poors Heath in 1996 On 27 June several were noted actively hunting over the crumbling cliffs of the Bridge Wood shoreline on the Orwell estuary. A number of owners of geological SSSIs kindly gave me permission to survey crag pits on their land during the year. Although notified on the grounds of their geological interest, such sites are understandably good for solitary bees and wasps if the exposures, invariably small cliffs or pits, are kept largely free of vegetation and face more or less southwards. These surveys yielded several new locations for the rare (RDB3 – Rare) digger wasp Cerceris quinquefasciata, a national and Suffolk Biodiversity Action Plan species. Two further interesting captures were made during SNS field meetings during the year. At College Heath County wildlife Site near Mildenhall, I took a female of the mining bee Lasioglossum brevicorne. This is a nationally rare (RDB3 – Rare) bee that was apparently not known by Claude Morley. Later the same afternoon, at Aspal Close LNR, a small digger wasp was taken from one of the very large oaks to be found scattered across this site. This proved to be Stigmus pendulus, a species first recorded in Britain in 1986 but now known from scattered sites across south-east England. Because its true status has yet to be determined, it is listed in the Red Data Book as “RDBK” (insufficiently known). It nests in dead wood, sometimes using old wood-worm beetle holes, as may have been the case here. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Heather Paxman of Woodbridge for providing me with a wealth of information concerning the bumblebees around the town and elsewhere in the county, seen during her frequent travels. If anyone would like to learn more about the bees and wasps of Suffolk, please get in contact with me and I’ll try and arrange a few specialised meetings with the hope of setting up a “study group” for this important order of insects. References Falk, S. J. (1991). A review of the scarce and threatened bees, wasps and ants of Great Britain, Research and Survey in Nature Conservation No. 35, Nature Conservancy Council. Morley, C. (1935). The Hymenoptera of Suffolk, Portio Prima. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc., 3: 17–52. Morley, C. (1936). The Hymenoptera of Suffolk, Portio Secunda. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 3: 132–162. Adrian Knowles 12 Blackbrook Road, Great Horkesley, Colchester, Essex, CO6 4TL

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 41 (2005)

Aculeate Hymenoptera Recorders’ Report for 2003/2004  

Adrian Knowles

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you