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Ecological Surveys

Owlthorpe Meadows Invertebrate Survey - 2011

Derek Whiteley

Records added to Sheffield Biological Records Centre RECORDER database.

Surveyed on 19 May 2011 , 1 June 2011 , 14 June 2011 and 27 June 2011

The survey was designed to cover the spring period, to complement the summer survey of 2010, but it was not possible to start until 19 May 2011 owing to contractual delays. Additional species will occur in March and April that will have been missed by the two surveys. Nevertheless some good data were collected in 2011 adding to our knowledge and ecological understanding of the sites.

Areas surveyed in 2011

Phase 1 grazing fields outlined in pink

Phase 1A grazing field outlined in yellow

Phase 2 grazing fields outlined in green.

Species Biodiversity

162 species have been identified from the 2011 survey of which 112 were new for Owlthorpe Meadows.

140 species were recorded in 2010 (mid July to September)

252 species is the combined total for both years. This list includes some species that are nationally localised and some species that are scarce in Sheffield .

see APPENDIX on a separate file all species listed in alphabetical order for easy reference. Including species ecology notes to assist with detailed management of these species on site.

Phase 1 Grazing Field

70 species were found in this area in 2011. At the time of the survey, this area had not been grazed and had recovered from grazing in 2010 to reveal a rich mosaic of grassland, bramble scrub and tall herb vegetation, which proved to be very productive for flying insects.

Plenty of bumble bees (especially Red-tailed Bumble Bees), hive bees, soldier beetles, green metallic flower beetles, grasshopper nymphs, hoverflies and picture wing flies. Some grasshoppers had matured by 14 th June and were courting.

Of special interest was a colony of Tree Bumblebees, attracted to brambles. This European species was new to Britain in 2001, and new to Sheffield in 2008, and is now colonising the SE corner of the City.

Good numbers of Robber Flies of two species are usually indicative of good quality grassland in Sheffield . Also of special interest was the abundance of the attractive picture wing fly Urophora cardui in the adult form, resulting from the large number of thistle galls found in the summer 2010 survey. (this species was new to Sheffield in 2010, and seems to be colonising SE Sheffield now)

Other localised species associated with good quality grasslands in Sheffield include the hoverfly Eupeodes latifasciatus , the snail-killing fly Coremacera marginata , and three species of sawfly known to breed in large grass stems.

Species list for Owlthorpe Phase 1 grassland

Species Common Name National Status

Tachypodoiulus niger White-legged Snake Millipede Common

Lithobius variegatus Striped Centipede Common

Chorthippus brunneus Common Field Grasshopper Common

Cercopis vulnerata Red & Black Froghopper Common

Chrysoperla carnea a green lacewing Common

Sphaeridium scarabaeoides a scavenger water beetle Common

Philonthus tenuicornis a rove beetle Local UK

Athous haemorrhoidalis Common Brown Click Beetle Common

Agriotes acuminatus a click beetle Common

Cantharis cryptica a soldier beetle Common

Cantharis decipiens a soldier beetle Common

Cantharis nigricans Large Grey Sailor Beetle Common

Cantharis rustica Large Black Sailor Beetle Common

Malachius bipustulatus Malachite Beetle Common

Brachypterus urticae Nettle Pollen Beetle Common

Adalia bipunctata Two-spot Ladybird Common

Coccinella septempunctata Seven-spot Ladybird Common

Oedemera lurida a thick-legged flower beetle Local UK

Perapion curtirostre a seed weevil Common

Phyllobius roboretanus Small Green Nettle Weevil Common

Panorpa communis a scorpion fly Common

Pieris napi Green-veined White Common

Anthocharis cardamines Orange Tip Common

Lycaena phlaeas Small Copper Common

Pararge aegeria Speckled Wood Common

Aphantopus hyperantus Ringlet Common

Tyria jacobaeae Cinnabar Common

Tipula lateralis a cranefly Common

Bibio leucopterus a st mark's fly Unknown

Microchrysa cyaneiventris a soldier fly Common

Microchrysa polita a soldier fly Common

Rhagio scolopaceus Common Downlooker Fly Common

Dioctria atricapilla a robber fly Local UK

Dioctria rufipes a robber fly Local UK

Empis (Kritempis) livida a dance fly Common

Melanostoma mellinum a hoverfly Common

Platycheirus albimanus a hoverfly Common

Platycheirus angustatus a hoverfly Common

Eupeodes latifasciatus a hoverfly Local UK

Sphaerophoria interrupta a hoverfly Local UK

Sphaerophoria scripta a hoverfly Common

Syrphus ribesii a hoverfly Common

Syrphus torvus a hoverfly Common

Cheilosia albitarsis a hoverfly Common

Cheilosia pagana a hoverfly Common

Eristalis tenax a hoverfly Common

Helophilus pendulus a hoverfly Common

Myathropa florea a hoverfly Common

Xylota segnis a hoverfly Common

Urophora cardui a gall fly Common

Urophora jaceana a gall fly Common

Chaetostomella cylindrica a gall fly Common

Terellia ruficauda a gall fly Common

Psila merdaria a psilid fly Common

Coremacera marginata a snail-killing fly Local UK

Palloptera campta a picture-wing fly Common

Opomyza germinationis an opomyzid fly Common

Tachina fera a tachinid fly Common

Gymnocheta viridis Tachinid Greenbottle Local UK

Cephus cultratus a sawfly Local UK

Calameuta pallipes a sawfly Common

Arge cyanocrocea a sawfly Local UK

Rhogogaster viridis a sawfly Common

Bombus lucorum White-tailed Bumble Beetle Common

Bombus terrestris Buff-tailed Bumble Bee Common

Bombus lapidarius Large Red Tailed Bumble Bee Common

Bombus pratorum Early Bumble Bee Common

Bombus pascuorum Common Carder Bee Common

Bombus hypnorum European Bumblebee recently naturalised

Apis mellifera Honey Bee Common

Phase 1a Grazing Field

This site was not surveyed in 2010 as a separate entity. 59 species were identified in 2011, when the field was recovering from grazing earlier in the year. For insects, the habitat has a nice structure with umbellifers, bramble, thistles, and a range of grasses being the key microhabitats. Small patches of bare ground in sunny area are also important. It is worth tolerating a small patch of nettles, but not too many. There was a good range of insects including plenty of feeding bumble bees and hive bees. Grasshopper nymphs were common. Plenty of picture wing flies (associated with thistles, burdocks and knapweeds), grassbugs and flower bugs, soldier beetles, Tree Wasps and craneflies.

The highlight was the discovery of the Green Jewel Beetle, which appears to be new to Sheffield . These beetles are dead wood feeders in their larval stages and probably originated from oak or ash bark nearby. An exciting find. The more frequent Rhinoceros Beetle was also found here and probably originated from a similar local tree or log. Conservation of any dead wood in the vicinity of this field is clearly desirable.

Other interesting species include the picture wing fly Tephritis formosa , breeding in Sow Thistles, two species of snail-killing flies usually associated with good quality dry grasslands, and quite localised in Sheffield . The Reed Stem Borer is a sawfly that breeds in the stems of reeds and large grasses and is Notable (uncommon) for the north of England . Adult thistle gall flies Urophora cardui (see above) were also found in this field. The importance of thistles on the site cannot be overestimated.

Species list for Owlthorpe Phase 1A grassland

Discus rotundatus a discus snail Common

Arion ater Great Black Slug Common

Arion subfuscus Dusky Slug Common

Arion ater rufus Red slug Common

Cepaea hortensis White-lipped Snail Common

Tachypodoiulus niger White-legged Snake Millipede Common

Haplophilus subterraneus a centipede Common

Lithobius forficatus Common Centipede Common

Chorthippus brunneus Common Field Grasshopper Common

Forficula auricularia Common Earwig Common

Heterogaster urticae Nettle Groundbug Common

Anthocoris nemorum Common Flower Bug Common

Capsus ater Common Black Plantbug Common

Leptopterna dolabrata a grassbug Common

Harpalus rufipes Strawberry Seed Beetle Common

Sinodendron cylindricum Rhinoceros Beetle Common

Athous haemorrhoidalis Common Brown Click Beetle Common

Rhagonycha fulva Common red soldier beetle Common

Adalia bipunctata Two-spot Ladybird Common

Coccinella septempunctata Seven-spot Ladybird Common

Phyllobius roboretanus Small Green Nettle Weevil Common

Agrilus species Green Jewel Beetle New to Sheffield

Agapeta hamana a micro-moth Common

Ochlodes venata Large Skipper Local UK

Pieris rapae Small White Common

Aglais urticae Small Tortoiseshell Common

Agrotis exclamationis Heart and Dart Common

Rivula sericealis Straw Dot Common

Nephrotoma flavescens a cranefly Common

Tipula lateralis a cranefly Common

Chloromyia formosa a soldier fly Common

Neoascia podagrica a hoverfly Common

Urophora cardui a gall fly Common

Urophora jaceana a gall fly Common

Urophora stylata a gall fly Common

Chaetostomella cylindrica a gall fly Common

Tephritis formosa a gall fly Local UK

Xyphosia miliaria a gall fly Common

Coremacera marginata a snail-killing fly Local UK

Euthycera fumigata a snail-killing fly Local UK

Opomyza germinationis an opomyzid fly Common

Phytomyza ilicis Holly Leaf Gall Fly Common

Calameuta filiformis Reed Stem Borer Nr Regionally

Arge cyanocrocea a sawfly Local UK

Tenthredopsis nassata a sawfly Common

Rhogogaster viridis a sawfly Common

Lasius niger Small Black Ant Common

Dolichovespula sylvestris Tree Wasp Common

Bombus lucorum White-tailed Bumble Bee Common

Bombus lapidarius Large Red Tailed Bumble Bee Common

Bombus pascuorum Common Carder Bee Common

Apis mellifera Honey Bee Common

Oniscus asellus Common Shiny Woodlouse Common

Philoscia muscorum Long-legged Woodlouse Common

Porcellio scaber Common Rough Woodlouse Common

Phase 2 Grazing Fields

These fields were actively being grazed during the period of the survey, and much of the ground vegetation was very short indeed and held little of interest. Specimens were obtained by sweeping foliage and marginal areas that cattle had not grazed. Some extra species were found by stone turning and hand searching through grass roots.

Only 57 species were identified in 2011, but these included some interesting finds. The colony of Slender Ground Hoppers (Sheffield Red Data Book ) found in 2010 was still present. This species prefers short vegetation in damp areas and is compatible with grazing cattle. It likes patches of damp mud and wet ruts.

The area will benefit from some careful clearance and a grazing regime that allows plants to flower and seed in the summer. A greater range of plants in flower would be useful, and some open sunny areas of grassland with grass stems of varying height. Grazing regime needs to be carefully managed to prevent poaching and allow some growth. As always, thistles, knapweeds, and a variety of low growing yellow or white flowers will promote a greater diversity of insects. Need to retain some Ragwort for Cinnabar moths.

Ideally the Phase 2 fields should be surveyed in 2012 to monitor the effect of intensive grazing in 2011.

Species list for Owlthorpe Phase 2 grassland

Boettgerilla pallens Worm Slug Naturalised

Cepaea hortensis White-lipped Snail Common

Tachypodoiulus niger White-legged Snake Millipede Common

Cylindroiulus punctatus Blunt-tailed Snake Millipede Common

Lithobius forficatus Common Centipede Common

Tetrix subulata Slender Ground Hopper Local RDB

Forficula auricularia Common Earwig Common

Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale Hawthorn Shieldbug Common

Elasmostethus interstinctus Birch Shieldbug Common

Anthocoris nemorum Common Flower Bug Common

Capsus ater Common Black Plantbug Common

Philaenus spumarius Cuckoo-spit Insect Common

Chrysopa perla a green lacewing Common

Cantharis cryptica a soldier beetle Common

Cantharis nigricans Large Grey Sailor Beetle Common

Rhagonycha limbata a soldier beetle Common

Adalia bipunctata Two-spot Ladybird Common

Coccinella septempunctata Seven-spot Ladybird Common

Calvia quattuordecimguttata Cream-spot ladybird Common

Oedemera lurida a thick-legged flower beetle Local UK

Gastrophysa viridula Green Dock Beetle Common

Phyllobius roboretanus Small Green Nettle Weevil Common

Phyllobius viridiaeris Green Nettle Weevil Local UK

Panorpa communis a scorpion fly Common

Pieris brassicae Large White Common

Pieris rapae Small White Common

Pieris napi Green-veined White Common

Lycaena phlaeas Small Copper Common

Inachis io Peacock Common

Tyria jacobaeae Cinnabar Common

Microchrysa polita a soldier fly Common

Platycheirus albimanus a hoverfly Common

Platycheirus angustatus a hoverfly Common

Platycheirus clypeatus sens. str. a hoverfly Common

Leucozona lucorum a hoverfly Common

Sphaerophoria scripta a hoverfly Common

Syrphus torvus a hoverfly Common

Eristalis pertinax a hoverfly Common

Merodon equestris Greater Bulb-fly Common

Urophora cardui a gall fly Common

Urophora jaceana a gall fly Common

Urophora stylata a gall fly Common

Terellia ruficauda a gall fly Common

Tephritis cometa a gall fly Local UK

Pherbellia albocostata a snail-killing fly Common

Tetanocera elata Common Slug-killing Fly Common

Rhogogaster viridis a sawfly Common

Tryphon trochanteratus an ichneumon wasp Unknown

Lasius niger Small Black Ant Common

Dolichovespula sylvestris Tree Wasp Common

Vespula vulgaris Common Wasp Common

Bombus lucorum White-tailed Bumble Bee Common

Bombus lapidarius Large Red Tailed Bumble Common

Bombus pascuorum Common Carder Bee Common

Bombus hypnorum European Bumblebee Naturalised

Oniscus asellus Common Shiny Woodlouse Common

Philoscia muscorum Long-legged Woodlouse Common

 

Derek Whiteley

October 2011

 

 

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