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
. 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.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Beetle Carnival! An Inordinate Fondness #16

It's been a quiet week or two for me on the blogging front - too much of the paid stuff to do. Still, I knew that for once I had a post booked in advance - issue #16 of the beetle-focused blog carnival 'An Inordinate Fondness'. This is the first time I've hosted a blog carnival (my own blog's not even a year old yet), so where to start?

Well, at the (conceptual) beginning with an excellent post about being drawn into beetling in the Ozarks, the acquisition and building of equipment, and occasional bouts of wifely disapproval - here's Basic Beetling by the Ozarkian. This has a few larger beetles illustrated (though we all know how many are tiiiiny) and mentions the assumption that they'd all be large - like The Perching Dung Beetles of Wongabel by BunyipCo. Apparently, in the Neotropics, dung beetles arrange themselves by size on perches, something that - if you wish to observe it - means sitting out in the rainforest at night; sounds good to me!

Anthocomus rufus (nope not featured anywhere else here!)

Sticking with the dungy theme, plus locations that seem exotic from my location in suburban southern England, the Natural History Museum (to me, the 'Mother Ship') would like to tell us all about the 2nd part of their expedition to Tanzania, this time to the Udzungwa Mountains where it appears they had to Exit, pursued by... a buffalo. Having done plenty of East African fieldwork in my time, I know the feeling... Still, despite the tetchy vertebrates, they found some fine dung beetle specimens using dung-baited traps, and more - including a mystery cerambycid - what more could you want? Well, what about the charismatic scarabaeid Paracotalpa ursina from Sam Wells Bug Page. These were recorded in an ordinary city park in Fresno, showing that witnessing their weighy grass-stem-toppling antics doesn't require a well-funded research trip to a remote 'corner' of the globe.

Hmmm... how about a paper on 'voyeurism in the Coccinellidae'?

Next, and switching families, here's some excellent tiger beetle photography from beetle-friendly ant specialist Alex Wild at Myrmecos (one of my personal favourite invertebrate blogs)? Marvel at the metallic green-ness, fear the mighty mandibles, but you can't avoid the gaze of Alex's Six-spotted Tiger. Also looking at cicindelids, AIF's very own Ted MacRae takes a look at some recently published work on the Rediscovery of Cicindela scabrosa floridana; as with any such rediscovery of something thought to be extinct, there is optimism about it being extant, tinged with concern about its long-term prospects. More research, and hopefully effective habitat management, will tell... In the meantime, don't forget to check out Ted's identification challenges!

Off to a couple of photography sites now, starting with something a little smaller than a dung or tiger beetle - I just love Giraffe Weevils so thanks to Kurt at Up Close With Nature as they don't exist in my part of the world. I was similarly pleased by the Headlight Beetle at Nature Closeups; a Costa Rican click beetle (elaterid) with bioluminescent spots on the pronotum, and something I had never heard of even though there are apparently numerous such species spread across several genera.

Not a monkey on my back - a weevil on my finger...

Getting back to a bit of 'diagnostic morphology' (one of my favourite aspects of entomology), and finally introducing some carabids which I've so far neglected in this post, Dave Ingram at Island Nature has been searching Vancouver Island for beetles and tracked down a mystery carabid - why not take a look and see what the Backyard Beetle turned out to be. He's also been looking at introduced European species which I am familiar with such as this Gorgeous Ground Beetle.

And finally [insert fanfare here], we return to the Natural History Museum's Tanzanian expedition to try to find out the identity of their mystery cerambycid at And the beetle you have been waiting for... Will it be identified, will it remain a mystery? Head over to find out, and maybe check out their latest video offering too.

One of my specialist group, the Chrysomelidae - leap, tiny flea beetle!
And so we finish - I decided to illustrate this post with a few fairly random beetle photos of my own - better photographers than me are featured in the carnival links above, but please do have a browse around my site. It's not all beetles, and some posts are even about things with bones, though invertebrates do play a major part. I hope you enjoyed this carnival; next month's AIF#17 will be at Biodiversity in Focus so don't be shy - submit a post or two, and maybe even host (it's quite easy) - it's what makes the carnival go round!


  1. Hi Dave - an excellent issue! Thanks for hosting.

  2. Cheers - I may have a go at Circus of the Spineless later this year...

  3. Dave,
    What an honor to be included in your AIF carnival.

    George Sims, "The Ozarkian"
    Mansfield, Missouri

  4. Your post struck a chord, George - beetles cooling in the fridge, mystery beetles arriving by post... :) Plus good info of course!