Southern Marsh Orchids

Southern Marsh Orchids

Monday 9 June 2014

Another beetle

This rather handsome beetle was collected by one of the folk who attended the Glam Botany Group visit to Rhoose Point.  It is a Chrysomelid (or leaf) beetle called Cryptocephalus hypochaeridis. The adults feed on Pollen usually from members of the Hawkweed/Hawkbit group of compositae.  As well as being a very striking beetle, it is also fairly uncommon.  The distribution map from the NBN Gateway shows very few records from Wales. 

Cryptocephalus hypochaeridis NBN Gateway


  1. and now even more uncommon

  2. It is safe to say that there are many different opinions on taking specimens for identification Tomcat. For lots of insects, beetles especially, it is not possible to identify them without using a microscope which unfortunately means a dead specimen. Most entomologists would say that responsible collecting for scientific purposes only is highly unlikely to have any material impact upon the population.

    The site it was taken from is one that may be subject to development pressures in the years to come. Understanding what species are present is worthwhile because it helps to build up a picture of the ecological value of the site. I have also discovered 3 species of Ophonus Carabid beetle on the site, which are significantly rarer than the Cryptocephalus above. If I had been unwilling to take specimens, we would not have any of this information.

    There is quite a good summary of the issues here if you want to have a read:

  3. Adam, first of all my apologies, i forgot that my google blog name would appear and not my name - Mark Lunn, hi !

    As a moderately intelligent person I do understand the value of collecting – my point however is still valid – now even more uncommon. It was a statement not a judgement. Given the statement of the likelihood of the habitat destruction I look forward to a future report on the area that highlights the biodiversity of the area delivered in a manner to promote its defence, however in todays world, sad to say, what site is not. I look forward to attending group meetings at some point in the future armed with my camera to help document the wildlife, I do not have the other skills required to investigate and identify specimens, so I will clearly leave that up to the experts whether amateur or professional.

    For myself I would much rather have had a picture of a live creature in its habitat with a statement that a specimen was collected to ascertain its identity to ensure it is correctly recorded. I believe the picture would have had more value to all to see it in its habitat than as a specimen on a sheet of card.

    Please do not for one moment think I disagree with the benefits of specimen collection; I do not under the right circumstances as per the letter in fact. I look forward to meeting with you one day.

  4. Hi Mark (L!),

    I understand entirely where you are coming from and agree with most of what you say. I think this is a matter for each person to decide what they are/aren't comfortable with.

    The only point I would question is whether collecting one individual from a population makes that species locally 'more uncommon'. I'd suggest that it doesn't. Whilst it is true that there is now one less beetle out there, other factors like predation, parasites and parasitoids, even the weather will have orders of magnitude greater impact on population levels.

    It could be that I am bit sensitive about this having had one or two slightly irrational debates with people who thought that insects should never be killed for any reason after I had posted pictures online of pinned insects for id purposes. From what you have said your position is thankfully somewhat more logical!

  5. Anyone who thinks insects should never be killed should certainly never drive a car, and never walk in long grass. Probably safest to stay indoors.

  6. And don't put up nest boxes...