DERC Newsletter

No. 47 Winter 2001 / 2002

In this issue:

Summer and Autumn 2001 were a busy time for DERC. Once the Foot and Mouth restrictions were lifted we didn't see our surveyors for dust - they were out surveying for long periods at a time, working on a number of large projects. These included a full vegetation survey of the Lulworth Ranges, with all the resulting information processed and mapped onto our geographical information system (GIS) to provide a comprehensive management package. In addition, work is almost complete on a vegetation survey of Poole Harbour Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA) as part of a monitoring programme. DERC are also involved in a pilot project to develop wildlife inventories for the South West region. The aim of the project is to use GIS and internet technology to collate biodiversity data from a number of contributing organisations on a consistent basis and to make it available to the widest possible range of users.

Finally, we pass on our congratulations to Carolyn Steele on the birth of Abigail at the beginning of October, and look forward to having Carolyn back with us in the New Year.

Rhiannon Rogers

Dipterist specialists visit Dorset

Of the four major orders of insects, i.e. Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Diptera and Lepidoptera, in Dorset at least, diptera (flies) are the most poorly recorded. So when a group comprising 31 entomologists with a passion for flies descended on Kingston Maurward for a week in the early summer of 1998, to spend the annual Dipterist Forum meeting recording Diptera in the Dorset countryside, great things were expected.

The following is a brief resume of the report of this meeting, received from Dipterist Forum.

The conditions were changeable, i.e. typical English weather. However on most days there were long periods of sunshine allowing plenty of recording to be accomplished. Each day the group split into smaller parties travelling to one or more of the 101 sites visited during the week. The sites comprised a wide range of habitats including salt marsh, wet and dry heathland, coastal areas and chalk downland.

These visits generated 9120 records for 1676 species of terrestrial invertebrates including 1209 species of fly and 253 species of hymenoptera. In total 231 species of threatened and Nationally scarce species were recorded including 154 flies and 41 hymenoptera, in addition two flies were recorded as new to Britain.

It is interesting to note that as well as diptera and hymenoptera there were also 90 species of beetle, 22 species of true bug, 46 species of moth, 18 species of dragonfly and 11 species of grasshopper recorded.

All the above mentioned records will eventually be stored on the RECORDER programme operated by DERC.

NB. In the last Newsletter, mention was made of the number of species of Tephritidae fly found in Dorset. The above report has added another 5 species to our list which means that Dorset is now 5th in the county rankings.

John Hunnisett

Hedgerows

Following the successful completion of the computerisation of Prof. Good's archive material, funding is being actively sought for a project to identify changes in the quality of Dorset's hedgebanks in the intervening 60 years. Hedgebanks are one of the least studied habitats in Dorset and are known to support a diversity of flora and fauna.

The projects aims are:

  • to identify the current state of Dorset's hedgerows
  • to compare the vegetation changes in hedgebanks since the 1930s
  • to investigate reasons for change in hedgebank habitat.

This work is likely to shed light on a picture in Dorset that is reflected nationally; there are no other comparable historical datasets in the UK to enable such detailed comparison.

We would be particularly interested to hear of any historical information relating to hedgerow management in Dorset. If you are able to help, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Nick Button (Good Project Officer)

Two new Dorset records

Whilst carrying out surveys on behalf of DERC for Christchurch Borough Council and Poole Borough Council, two bugs (Heteroptera) new to Dorset have been discovered. With many of the smaller insect species the question always arises as to whether it is a new county species or has it just been overlooked and difficult to find? In both the above cases, it can be said with some certainty that they are new species.

Whilst grubbing amongst plant litter on a well established dune area of Mudeford Spit the dried husk of a squash bug (Coreidae), minus one antennae and three legs, was discovered. Eventually the bug was identified as Ceraleptus lividus, a species associated with trefoils and clover and thought to be confined to the southeast corner of the country. This appears to be the first record for either Hampshire or Dorset.

The second bug was discovered feeding on Alyssum along the esplanade at Branksome Chine. First discovered in Britain in Sussex in 1992, the ground bug Nysius senecionis (Lygaeidae) has gradually spread through the counties along the south coast, recorded in Hampshire in 1996 and now Dorset in 2001.

John Hunnisett

2002 Workshops

Rook

Rook

Drawing: Robin Walls

After a year in which workshops were badly affected by the Foot and Mouth restrictions, we plan to run a range of workshops in 2002 to cover a variety of topics. These are currently at the planning stage and, once confirmed, will be posted here and in the next newsletter. Please look out for the details and book early! Places will be open to individuals (5) or organisations (20). Alterations to the programme may be necessary, and places are limited, so please book in advance leaving a contact number. Most days run from 10 am - 4 pm.

Thanks

Our continued thanks to all our recorders and volunteers. In 2002 we will be looking at the mechanisms of data flow between voluntary recorders and Local Record Centres as part of the South West Project - we value our volunteers and want make the most of you!