The Herts Invertebrate Project is an initiative to promote the recording of invertebrates in Herts through the organisation of a calendar of site surveys. It was founded in 2015 with two main objectives: increasing the number of invertebrate records being made at a variety of key sites across the county, especially for under-recorded species groups; and offering an environment in which newcomers to recording can develop their confidence and skills and, thus, ultimately helping to increase the number of people with the interest and ability to contribute to biological recording.
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Precise meeting details are communicated to an open email list by meeting leaders. To be added to the mailing list, please contact Ian Carle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Invertebrate recording at Therfield Heath and Fox Covert
Sat 02 Jun 2018
by Joe Gray
The eight people in attendance at this meeting enjoyed a fine day's weather for entomology and the group was rewarded with what was one of the most important finds made to date by the Herts Invertebrate Project. Guided by one of the Conservators of Therfield Heath, a speculative bit of grubbing by Ian Carle under a Bastard Toadflax in the Pen Hills area of the SSSI yielded the Down Shieldbug (Canthophorus impressus). This is a nationally scarce species of burrowing shieldbug never before found in Herts and thought to have been completely lost from its previous sites in the East of England. We also found a second individual under a plant very close to the first.
Not content with a first record for the county from his morning's work, Ian was at it again during the afternoon. Sweeping herbage in a set-aside area of Greys Farm that adjoins Therfield Heath, he found a ground-bug that he duly brought to my attention (as county recorder for terrestrial Heteroptera). It proved to be Megalonotus antennatus, a scarce and local species with an ecology that is poorly understood. The record was confirmed by Jim Flanagan, organizer of the national scheme for plantbugs and allies, as another county first.
Down Shieldbug (Joe Gray)
Invertebrate recording at Hunsdon Mead
Sat 19 May 2018
by Dan Asaw
For the first meeting of the year, we were met with glorious sunshine and temperatures of around 19°C: ideal conditions for surveying invertebrates within a meadow. The meeting was attended by nine people in total and we found a good mix of invertebrates; however, the species list was dominated by Coleoptera. Over the course of the day we managed to find and identify over 100 species of invertebrate on the site.
The morning began with the spotting of an Umbellifer Longhorn Beetle (Phytoecia cylindrica) resting on Cow Parsley by Simon Knott. Later, whilst sweeping within the meadow, a specimen of the lacebug Tingis ampliata was found amongst numerous other Hemipterans. After lunch a rotting stump yielded a sizeable Lesser Stag Beetle (Dorcus parallelipipedus) and the rather stunning fungus weevil Platystomos albinus. The star of the show, however, was found in Joe Gray's sweep-net towards the end of the day, when to everyone's delight he produced an example of the sexton beetle Nicrophorus vespillio.
Umbellifer Longhorn Beetle (© Gail Ashton)
Invertebrate recording at Whippendell Wood
Sat 12 Aug 2017
Pictured to the left is the stilt-bug Metatropis rufescens (photo: Ian Carle), which was among one of many species recorded at this meeting.
Invertebrate recording at Panshanger Park
Sat 17 Jun 2017
Pictured to the left is a Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle (Agapanthia villosoviridescens; photo: Ian Carle) recorded at this meeting.