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20 years of beetling

Twenty years ago to the day, on Sunday 26th January 1992, I became a coleopterist! I was birding at Dungeness but turned over a stone and collected my first beetle. I was steeling myself for hours at the microscope, poring over victorian textbooks and baffling anatomical diagrams. But actually I just took it into work and showed it to Brian Eversham, my boss at the time, who instantly identified it as Agonum albipes with just a glance! Until then, I really admired the sort of birders who could call a flyover Richard’s Pipit, and I hadn’t realised that the sort of field ID skills that birders have could be applied to beetles. Keying things out at the microscope and working with museum collections is a big part of getting to know the beetles but a lot of species can be identified in the field. Some can even be identified in flight! My beetling career took off straight away and I have never stopped.

I’ve got all my beetle records from the first twenty years in a MapMate database: I suspect very few other coleopterists have been in that position. So I’ve taken the opportunity to look back at the records and do a bit of analysis. I’ll be giving a talk about the results at Coleopterists’ Day next weekend so I won’t spoil the talk by revealing them here now. But for a taster, here’s a map of all the 10-km squares where I’ve recorded beetles in the last 20 years.

My beetle records - 1992 to 2012.


  1. Stuart Warrington says:

    Where is the Talk, Mark? Superb coverage in 20 yrs.
    (but Lancashire & Westmorland are a bit neglected !)

  2. markgtelfer says:

    Coleopterists’ Day was at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History yesterday – well attended and good fun. I must apply for a visa to visit Lancashire!

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