DERC Newsletter

No. 51 Spring 2004

In this issue:

Erica ciliaris

Erica ciliaris

Photo: Bryan Edwards

2004 sees the end of the SW Pilot for the National Biodiversity Network. This three year project has provided the impetus for DERC to look at and review a number of our policies and procedures. Much of the work has been aimed at formalising and streamlining the flow of data from recorders to users, and common standards across organisations. Some of the ideas have been very valid and we shall be looking at these again in the future.

The highlight will be the formal launch of the NBN Gateway in the Spring. Due to our involvement there are a number of data sets for Dorset already on the Gateway for subjects as diverse as Hawkmoths, invasive aliens, Dorset Heath (Erica ciliaris) and Ross Coral. In addition Priority habitats maps for Dorset and the other counties in the south-west will be on line. The advantage to the Gateway is that it will allow people to see data (sometimes your data) either in a Dorset context, against other data about the county, or as part of a regional/national data set. To find the Gateway follow this link:
www.searchnbn.net.

Spring is also a time for new publications. Data for the Dorset Rare Plant Register is currently being collated. Thank you to everyone who contributed. It will be available in time for the new recording season. We are also editing the next Recording Dorset, which will include articles and updates on recording across the county. All publications will be advertised on this web-site as soon as they are available.

In this newsletter I am very pleased to include an article by Tony Allen. Tony is a beetle expert who has worked with DERC for many years. Here he highlights two new species for Britain. If there are any other recorders who would like to contribute to the DERC newsletter, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Carolyn Steele (Record Centre Manager)

Two New Beetles for Britain

Philonthus spinipes

Philonthus spinipes

Drawing: John Read

Dactylosternum abdominale

Dactylosternum abdominale

Drawing: John Read

In August 2003, I found several examples of an unfamiliar beetle in a large manure heap near Wimborne St Giles. These turned out to be a water scavenger beetle called Dactylosternum abdominale (right), which had not been found in Britain before this. In the same heap, I also found the large rove beetle Philonthus spinipes (left) that I added to the British list in 1997 from specimens found at West Parley. Encouraged by these finds I searched in other manure heaps and piles of old hay last autumn finding a number of uncommon species. This year I shall be continuing the search.

Tony Allen

A Spider Update and a Shield Bug to Search For

In Newsletter 49 we asked you to be on the lookout for two spiders that could be found in and around the house. The request was consequently picked up by the Dorset Evening Echo and the ensuing article brought one of the highest responses to any of our ‘look out for this’ themes. In total we received 30 sightings of Pholcus phalangioides from all over the county thus proving that the spider has a wide distribution in Dorset. The request for records of the spitting spider Scytodes thoracica however did not have the same response. There was only one sighting from Chickerell. Thanks all those who took the trouble to contact us.

Picromus bidens

Picromus bidens

Photo: John Hunnisett

Picromerus bidens distribution

Picromerus bidens distribution

(Click on the map for a larger picture)

Over the last few newsletters there has been a flow of requests for records of Shieldbug, this one will be no exception. One of the most bizarre shieldbugs we have in this country is the unmistakable Picromus bidens. It is uniform rich brown in colour with red legs and antennae, and the shoulders are drawn out into sharp spines, which gives it an unmistakable shape. The adults can be found from mid July until early October on tall herbaceous plants and low shrubs. DERC has 27 locations for this bug mainly from the central southern part of the county.

More records on any of these species would be welcome.

John Hunnisett

Marine Projects

I leave DERC at an exciting time in Dorset’s marine circles. The Dorset Marine Biodiversity Database currently holds over 30,400 species records and is now at the level that it provides the most comprehensive resource for marine ecological data in Dorset.

There are also a number of exciting projects taking off, most notably the Marine & Coast digital atlas led by Dorset Coast Forum (DCF). DERC have been working alongside DCF to make maps of marine and coastal data available via the internet. The atlas is due to go online in March.

DERC will be holding a workshop on algal ID this summer – see the workshop dates for more information. Finally, DERC hope to work with DWT to launch the MarLIN marine life recording scheme in Dorset later this year.

Maria Pegoraro

Summer Workshops 2004

Details of our Workshops can be found on the Workshops page.