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My first alexiid!

It is a rare event nowadays for me to see a new beetle family but yesterday’s highlight was finding Sphaerosoma pilosum for the first time, the sole British member of family Alexiidae.

Sphaerosoma pilosum, Britain's only alexiid beetle.

I knocked it off a log with a white crustose polypore fungus, lying on the ground in calcareous woodland near Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire. I have now seen 96 of the 103 families of British beetles. Of the remaining seven families, six are represented by single British species that are either rare, very difficult to find, or Scottish. The seventh family is the Bostrichidae with five species on the British list and it is high time I bumped into one of them.

Another exciting find on the same outing was this Anommatus duodecimstriatus, found under bark on the underside of an Elder log pressed into the soil. This is one of Britain’s 13 species of blind beetle, previously featured on this blog after some turned up in my garden. It did two remarkable things, for a beetle. One, it just turned round and round on the spot rather than running away (maybe being blind has its disadvantages when someone disturbs your hiding place). And two, it clung on to the log despite me dropping it from waist height!

Anommatus duodecimstriatus, one of Britain's 12 blind beetles.

Recent attempts at fieldwork have felt pretty futile so it is good to have finally found some decent beetles. Looking forward to spring really getting going now!


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