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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 42

ACULEATE HYMENOPTERA RECORDER’S REPORT FOR 2005 ADRIAN KNOWLES As previously reported, 2003 saw the discovery at Maidscross Hill near Lakenheath of a small Crabronid Wasp Miscophus bicolor as a new British species. During 2005 I returned to the site to try and determine whether or not the species still occurred there, rather than the discovery being a “freak” oneoff occurrence. On 12th July a series of pan-traps was set out across the site to augment basic searching techniques. After only an hour, two specimens of a Miscophus were found in a trap and as the traps were collected in straight after (to prevent an “over-kill” of this species) several more specimens were apparent. Thereafter, searching with a hand net over likely nesting habitat showed the species to be quite numerous at several locations across the site. This discovery is about to be published in Volume 18, Part 4 of the British Journal of Entomology and Natural History. A small number of reference specimens have been placed in the Natural History Museum, London. Additional recording at this important aculeate site yielded new site records for several species, including the Red Data Book (RDB3, Rare) wasp Podalonia affinis. This is one of an interesting group of species that have a generally coastal distribution, with the Brecklands as their only significant inland location. Across Britain, P. affinis has been recorded from Merseyside and the Lancashire coast, the eastern Isle of Wight and Chichester harbour area, Sandwich Bay in Kent and scattered localities along the Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk coasts. There is one modern inland record for south Yorkshire, but the wasp is known from a large cluster of sites in the Brecks. This disjunct distribution pattern of “coastal localities and also Breckland” is also shown by the bee Colletes marginatus. Another new species for this site was the scarce bumblebee Bombus ruderarius, a black species with a red “tail” that superficially resembles the very common B. lapidarius. The aculeate fauna of Maidscross Hill now includes 15 Nationally Scarce and 5 Red Data Book species, plus the as yet unclassified Miscophus. Further records were gained from the College Heath County Wildlife Site in Mildenhall, a small piece of Breck grassland being surrounded by housing and no doubt under threat from a similar fate. The aculeates here include the Red Data Book (RDB 3, Rare) mining bee Lasioglossum brevicorne, which favours nesting in sandy soils. The afternoon of this trip was spent at Aspal Close LNR in Beck Row. This visit saw a new vice county record for the very small spider-hunting wasp Agenioideus cinctellus, only the third modern record for Suffolk. In August a brief visit was paid to the Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve. The fauna here includes a number of interesting species, including the National Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) and RDB3 wasp Cerceris quinquefasciata, the Scarce (Na) digger wasp Oxybelus argentatus and a good variety of bumblebees. My thanks are extended to Prof. Ted Benton of Colchester for his records of the BAP bumblebee Bombus ruderatus taken from sandy grassland at Icklingham, along with B. ruderarius. Thanks also to David Nash for

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 42 (2006)


FRESHWATER HYMENOPTERA INVERTEBRATES

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TL 6

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Map 1 shows the number of 2 km squares for which modern (post Morley) records are currently available. This clearly illustrates the poor coverage for much of the county and the work still to do! Inevitably, much recorder activity in the past has centred on the “classic” localities within the Brecks and coastal Sandlings, but there is no doubt much of interest to be found in the claylands of central Suffolk and survey work will focus on this region next year.

providing a few aculeate specimens from his pitfall trapping studies at Ipswich Golf Club. This material produced one very noteworthy species: the spiderhunting wasp Priocnemis susterai, a modern vice-county record and only recorded in Suffolk from Maidscross Hill and Center Parcs, Elveden before this specimen. A visit by myself to the club, under the guidance of conservation officer Neil Sherman, yielded some interesting species, including the attractive bee Melitta haemorrhoidalis, which has an almost identical Suffolk distribution to the Priocnemis wasp. The Melitta has a strong association with Harebell flowers, which are thinly scattered across some of the rough, heathy parts of the course, with the possibility that mowing regimes can ensure that these flowers are left as long as possible, both as a nectar source and to hopefully allow seeds to set and the plant to spread. This visit yielded two modern vice county records: the digger wasps Ectemnius dives and Trypoxylon medium, the latter being a species within the T. figulus group not recognised in Morley’s time.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 42 (2006)


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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 42

If anyone is interested in forming a study group to further our knowledge of the solitary bees and wasps of Suffolk, I’d be pleased to hear from you because I can’t survey the whole county myself! If you are interested in catching and preserving these insects or tend to come across them as a “bycatch” to your main area of interest, I can provide the identification service, so you need not feel daunted about trying to identify them yourself. Adrian Knowles Jessups Cottage London Road Capel St Mary Ipswich Suffolk IP9 2JJ

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 42 (2006)

ACULEATE HYMENOPTERA RECORDER’S REPORT FOR 2005  

Adrian Knowles

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