23 August 2017

new method, new record

Having just read Ted Benton's Grasshoppers and Crickets and wanting a change from Bees and Wasps I decided to try out a bat detector (thanks for the loan Steve) as I'm deaf to all those songs I learned long ago.

Yesterday afternoon at Crymlyn Burrows I detected a lot of things I would expect there but one continuous buzz was puzzling me. Eventually I saw and photographed them and realised they were Long Winged Coneheads (Conocephalus discolor to me but maybe now C.fuscus!).

You can see the long straightish ovipositor which is the easiest way to tell from rare (I have never seen) long winged forms of the Short Winged Conehead, Conocephalus dorsalis, a species also at Crymlyn Burrows in the saltmarsh edge.

 The male is not so easy to tell but details of the cerci (arrow) help.

New to me here, I'd seen them in Dorset 30 or so years ago, I'd expected them as they'd arrived in Cardiff as long ago as 1999. I find Mike Howe recorded them at Nicholaston in 2013, loving the new NBN gateway.

There were a lot (probably 100s) singing between the University entrance and the roundabout in 1-2 foot high grass and bramble/Polypodium sp. This is the habitat structure I remember them liking and there were even a few opposite the uni entrance in taller grass by the Bay Studios so I wouldn't be surprised to find them widespread now if you have access to a bat detector, I will certainly be buying one pronto. I photographed one short winged form of a male conehead in the Dutch Rush (Equisetum hyemale) beds by the uni entrance but I am not sure if this was a dorsalis in a new habitat or a nymphal fuscus. One of the other things that can happen as well as spread to new areas is spread to new habitats as the climate gets more favourable to a species.

Habitats with Long Winged Coneheads.

Time to try and find Roesel's bush cricket which has also spread but doesn't seem to have made it so close (so far!).


ian tew said...

a trip up swansea valley to get paint yesterday, with the bat detector naturally, found loads more in the right habitat as far as the old rubbish tip in Tawe Vale north of Morriston. Look forward to getting my own bat detector and trawling the Gower.

Ian Morgan said...

Interesting. I caught one at a brownfield site at Burry Port a couple of years ago - perhaps I should go looking at other sites too.

Barry Stewart said...

Great work Ian, day-time bat detecting is something I would never have thought of!