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Welcome to my blog

This is where I post various musings about wildlife and ecology, observations of interesting species (often invertebrates)
and bits of research that grab my attention. As well as blogging, I undertake professional ecological & wildlife surveys
covering invertebrates, plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and some mammals, plus habitat assessment and management
advice
. I don't work on planning applications/for developers. The pages on the right will tell you more about my work,
main interests and key projects, and you can follow my academic work here.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

What's in the box? Beetle-related joy (part 2)

Following on from identifying a couple of specimens of Aphthona pallida, I was left with one small dark beetle, another Aphthona. This was a female but also very well dissected, and keyed out quite easily as A. melancholica - a gloomy name for a dark-coloured insect.

Aphthona melancholica - female with genitalia dissected out.
As you can imagine, as the beetle is only about 2.5mm long, the genitalia you can see in the above photo are not large. They tend not to be as useful for identification as those of males (as the differences between species are so slight), but can be helpful and are included in some keys such as Doguet (1994). The structure visible here is the spermatheca - the structure that receives and stores sperm.

Spermatheca of A. melancholica
Reference

Doguet, S. (1994). Faune de France 80 – Coléoptères Chrysomelidae, Volume 2: Alticinae. Federation Francaise des Sociétes de Science Naturelles, Paris. [in French]