I received the custom-made Autokatcher net from B&S Entomological Services during the week, in time to give the Autokatcher its maiden voyage around Parham Park during the first Pan-species Listers’ Field Meeting on Friday. I’ve just put the meagre haul of eight beetles that I caught on the first spin under the microscope and, incredibly, the first one I look at is Litargus balteatus (Mycetophagidae). A first for Sussex and a new beetle for me!
Colin Welch summarised the status and distribution of this beetle in a 2009 paper. 14 specimens were found in Sherwood Forest in 1907. It wasn’t seen again until 1982 when 3 were found in Leicestershire, followed by one in Norfolk in 2003, another one in Norfolk and one in Cambs in 2007, one in Huntingdonshire and one in Dorset in 2008. The first Irish record was of one in Co. Armagh in 2010. No doubt there have been a few other records as yet unpublished. It’s a non-native species from North America and despite a slow start, it seems to be spreading in Britain now.
The test run of the Autokatcher was a complete success and I’ll post full details soon for anyone else who fancies getting one. But meantime here’s some footage of the maiden voyage!
Welch, R.C. (2009). Litargus balteatus Le Conte (Mycetophagidae) outdoors in Cambridgeshire (Vice County 31, Hunts.). The Coleopterist, 18, 130.