Pete Akers, warden of the Dungeness RSPB reserve, found a single specimen of the very elusive carabid beetle Bembidion caeruleum at ‘The Honeypot’, a bay on the north-west edge of Burrow’s Pit (TR06771854) on 22nd April 2009. The Honeypot is one of the best remaining areas of quicksand on the reserve, or it was when I was last there in May 2005. The soft sediments on the Dungeness pit margins are declining fast now that gravel extraction has completely ceased and the dreaded Crassula helmsii has become established. Access to the Honeypot is strictly by permission of the warden.
Bembidion caeruleum was first identified from Britain by holidaying Norwegian coleopterist Sindre Ligaard who found about 15 specimens by torchlight at Dungeness RSPB reserve on the night of 22nd July 1999 (Telfer, 2001). An earlier record of two specimens from nearby Brett’s Pit on 3rd May 1989 was then unearthed. I’ve since spent several nights torching at Dungeness and only seen a single B. caeruleum: one collected by Brian Eversham on some treacherous quicksand (now gone) at the north end of the ARC pit on 18-19 May 2000. Of the several other coleopterists who have worked the pit margins at Dungeness in the last decade, to my knowledge only John Paul has found B. caeruleum: one on 11th August 2002.
So Pete’s 2009 record shows that B. caeruleum is still present at Dungeness. Since British coleopterists are having such difficulty finding it, perhaps it’s time we invited the Norwegian back to show us how it’s done?!
Telfer, M. G. (2001). Bembidion coeruleum Serville (Carabidae) new to Britain and other notable carabid records from Dungeness, Kent. The Coleopterist, 10, 1 – 4. [Note that the species is now known, correctly, by the original spelling ‘caeruleum‘ rather than ‘coeruleum‘.]