20 April 2011
May Bugs and Mushrooms
The May Bug (Melolontha melolontha) and St George’s Mushroom (Calocybe gambosa) are two species named for the dates they appear in the natural year. This year, like Bluebells, they have appeared earlier than usual.
Paul Alton alerted me to the appearance of a ring of St George’s Mushrooms in Swansea University Gardens 2 weeks ago, where the photograph above was taken. There has been a population there for at least 30 years to my knowledge. But back in the 1980s it used to appear, almost to the day, on April 23rd (St George’s Day). Paul reminded me that it is one of a suite of species whose appearance is monitored every year as part of the on-going study of phenological change in the British countryside.
Over the years May Bugs (or Cockchafers) also seem to be appearing earlier. The one in the photo below has been knocking on our window for the last few days.