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.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Great Juvenile Chrysomelidae Project

You know I like invertebrates, especially insects, in particular beetles, and that I have an inordinate fondness for the Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles). You may even know that I published an identification key to the adults of British species. However, I have (foolishly?) decided that this isn't enough and am therefore embarking on a project to (eventually) produce some sort of identification guide to juvenile chrysomelids - eggs, larvae and pupae.

Why? Well, for many of the species, the ecology and life histories are poorly understood, and many juvenile stages are undescribed. So, it's first of all, an opportunity to summarise where more research/beetle-hunting is required. If the larva of species X has never been described, then there's an opportunity to try to find it. This allows the biology of the group to be better understood and in turn, conservation measures to be more appropriately designed and applied. The better we know them, the better we can protect them.

This is why the first step is the creation of a spreadsheet covering what is known/published for each species on the British list so that I can see where the genuine gaps in our knowledge lie. I have a draft of this spreadsheet and what I'm after is feedback to see what I've missed - presumably some stages/species are covered in publications, grey literature, theses etc that I've not managed to find, as well as observations that have not been written up in keys or formal descriptions. Some blanks could be filled in with a fair level of confidence e.g. more 'earthen cells' for pupal location, but I've erred on the side of caution and left blanks where there's no published (or directly observed) confirmation I know of. There's also a list of all the references I've found so far.

Interested? want to help?

If you'd like to check the spreadsheet and see if there's anything you could add to it, please get in touch so I can email it to you (if there was a wiki function here, I'd use that, but there isn't...). Then simply send any additions to me citing the cell number in the spreadsheet where it should go (either by email or a comment here).

I hope that all makes sense and look forward to seeing what I've missed - I suspect this is going to be a long project...

A chrysomelid larva, but which one?


  1. Dave, I wish you well with this project. I'd offer to help, but being a Welshman with little brain and even less knowledge about entomology other than id'ing the few common species I've found in the garden, I'd be little use. Though I make a wicked coffee!

  2. Thanks - the spreadsheet will be circulated via the professional entomology community and I'm sure my fellow bug-nerds will provide - and of course, coffee will undoubtedly be a vital resource required to complete this...