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FIELD NOTES
INVERTEBRATES
All invertebrate notes and records should be sent to Mrs M.J. Morgan, Department of
Applied Zoology, University College of North Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd.
Dr Bruce Ing's notes on 'New and Interesting Insects in North Wales' in the last issue of Nature in
Wales prompted me to search for any further records of the species which he mentions. During the
last 15 or so years extensive recording of insects and some other invertebrates in North Wales has
resulted in the accumulation of over 25,000 record cards in the Department of Applied Zoology,
Bangor. With literature references which go back 150 years this increasingly valuable collection
enables a quick check to be made to assess what is know about a particular species.
For example, the beetle, Cteniopus sulphureus has, as Dr Ing suggests, a very local distribution
in North Wales. It was first recorded at Newborough, Anglesey, 10 August 1962 by A. Brindle and
has been noted regularly since then, both on the dunes and in the forest. It has also been found at
Rhosneigr but had not been recorded previously at nearby Aberffraw. The only other known locality
is in Caemarvonshire, and an old specimen from Llandudno is in the collections of the National
Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Rather more recently it was found to be quite common on and around
flowers of thyme on the Great Orme in 1968 (H.N. Michaelis).
The first record of the Rose Chafer Cetonia aurata was from Uanfwrog, about 6 miles east of
Holyhead, where C.C. Townsend found it in June 1947 (Entomologists mon. Mag. 83,1947,278).
Since then it has only been reported on Holy Island itself and seems to be restricted to the area
around South Stack where Dr Ing and others have seen it in recent years. Of particular interest is
that Ian Bullock investigating the diet of Choughs in the area found the remains of the adult beetles
in Chough droppings in mid February 1979. It seems likely that at the time of the year the birds were
searching out hibernating beetles. Mr Bullock also found a full grown larva and suspected that the
Choughs were feeding on these. Fortunately the birds were also finding various other insects to feed
on, so one hopes that both the rare bird and the beetle will continue to flourish in this area.
BRISTLE-TAILS (Thysanura)
This primitive group of insects is familiar to those who have seen the elusive 'silver-fish' in old
houses, near skirting boards and grates. None of the Thysanura has wings and all live under stones
or in crevices in rocks, vegetation or buildings where their soft bodies obtain protection from
predators and desiccation.
The silver-fish is covered with silvery-looking scales and can run quite fast if disturbed. It was first
recorded in North Wales in the 1920's by C.L. Walton who described its presence "in troublesome
numbers in kitchens". With the trend towards tiled solid concrete floors it appears likely that this
species is not as common as it was, but it is still found regularly in Bangor. The 'fire-brat' Thermobia
domestics was known to occur in a bakehouse in Bangor in the 1950's but there are no recent
records. It would be interesting to know if it occurs in warm buildings anywhere else in Wales at the
present time.
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