SWSEIC Recording Group at Ayr Gorge, 24th April 2024

The SWSEIC recording group’s first survey day of the year was held at SWT Ayr Gorge Woodland on 24 April 2024.

We were blessed with glorious weather and we welcomed by five experienced attendees bringing their own expertise and knowledge to the day. We are still awaiting verification for some records, but all together on the day we recorded in the region of 184 taxa. Most were identified to species level, but a few including some genus records.

The group recorded 49 new species for the site. Some of the highlights from the day included:

Ash-black Slug Limax cinereoniger is a fungivorous species almost exclusively associated with ancient woodland sites. This is Britain’s largest slugs and can grow in excess of 25cm. Although fairly widespread throughout the UK this species is believed to have declined alongside its habitat. This may be a first record for the species in South Ayrshire.

A species of leafhopper Stenocranus minutus was recorded on the day and whilst it is common in England, we believe this may be the first record for the species in the SWSEIC area. This species if found in dry grassy areas and is worth looking out for elsewhere.

Paul Cobb effortlessly found evidence of the stem-mining fly Phytobia cerasiferae in Blackthorn at the start of the reserve. This species was completely unknown from the SWSEIC area until Lee Johnson discovered the species in Sorn. Despite the perceived rarity of the species, it seems that anyone who makes an effort to go looking for it finds it! Please do let us know if you find any near you.

Lee Johnson found Hairy Melangya Melangyna lasiophthalma, a hoverfly associated with deciduous woodland. This early spring species is widespread in the UK but perhaps due to its similarity with similar species it is poorly recorded in our area.

Despite not being a new species for the site the Arum Hoverfly Portevinia maculata was abundant in the woodland on the day. This species’ larvae develop in the stems and bulbs of Ramsons; it is an uncommon species in our area, and indeed Scotland.

The cold overnight weather meant that our moth traps, set up the night before, only captured five species. Nonetheless two new species for the site were among them this included Shoulder Stripe Earophila badiata and Least Black Arches Nola confusalis. Neither species is especially rare, but Shoulder Stripe has undergone a significant decline in Dumfries & Galloway since the 1970’s. Whether this trend is the same in Ayrshire we don’t know. In addition, Mark Pollitt found a caterpillar which we later identified as Green Brindled-crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae, another new species for the site.

18 spider taxa were recorded on the day including one new species for the site, a wolf spider Pardosa saltans. This species is associated with ancient woodland and is poorly recorded in our region.

Sadly our 10 small mammal traps caught nothing. We theorise this is due to the cold weather and them being very new (this was their first outing!) and smelling of, well, us! We have since placed all the traps outside the SWSEIC office to weather them and they have since caught very effectively, so hopefully our next event may be more successful.

All records from the day have been entered onto iRecord where a summary list of the species recorded can be found. Full details of all the records (with many photos) can be found here.

Species/taxa new to the site species list included:

  1. A sawfly Aglaostigma aucupariae
  2. A ground beetle Agonum thoreyi
  3. Wireworm Click Beetle Agriotes obscurus
  4. Green Brindled-crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae
  5. A flea beetle Altica spp.
  6. A ground beetle Amara communis
  7. A ground beetle Anchomenus dorsalis
  8. Ground Weevil Barynotus obscurus
  9. A ground beetle Bradycellus harpalinus
  10. A ground beetle Calodromius spilotus
  11. Green Tortoise Beetle Cassida viridis
  12. Chestnut Slug Deroceras (Deroceras) invadens
  13. Shoulder Stripe Earophila badiata
  14. A weevil Euophryum confine
  15. Script Lichen Graphis scripta
  16. Large Pine Weevil Hylobius abietis
  17. Nut Disco Hymenoscyphus fructigenus
  18. Castor Bean Tick Ixodes (Ixodes) ricinus
  19. Ash-black Slug Limax cinereoniger
  20. Hairy Melangya Melangyna lasiophthalma
  21. A dung beetle Melinopterus prodromus
  22. A stonefly Nemoura cinerea
  23. Least Black Arches Nola confusalis
  24. A nomad bee Nomada spp.
  25. A ground beetle Notiophilus biguttatus
  26. A ground beetle Ocys harpaloides/tachysoides agg.
  27. A springtail Orchesella cincta
  28. A hemiptera Orthops (Orthops) campestris
  29. A leaf beetle Oulema obscura
  30. A wolf spider Pardosa saltans
  31. Mustard Beetle Phaedon cochleariae
  32. Celery Leaf beetle Phaedon tumidulus
  33. A rove beetle Philonthus carbonarius
  34. A rove beetle Philonthus cognatus
  35. A woodlouse Philoscia affinis
  36. Common Leaf Weevil Phyllobius pyri
  37. A stem-mining fly Phytobia cerasiferae
  38. A weevil Polydrusus cervinus
  39. Bracken Map Rhopographus filicinus
  40. Gooseberry Ribes uva-crispa
  41. A hemipteran Stenocranus minutus
  42. Grass Bug Stenodema (Stenodema) laevigata
  43. A rove beetle Stenus flavipes
  44. A rove beetle Stenus similis
  45. A ground beetle Stomis pumicatus
  46. Amber Snail Succinea putris
  47. A rove beetle Tachyporus sp.
  48. Celandine Clustercup Rust Uromyces dactylidis
  49. Beechmast Candlesnuff Xylaria carpophila

Additional species recorded infrequently at the site previously:

  1. A gall wasp Andricus inflator
  2. Honeycomb Coral Slime Mould Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa
  3. Blushing bracket Daedaleopsis confragosa
  4. Hairy Spider Weevil Exomias pellucidus
  5. Green Dock Beetle Gastrophysa viridula
  6. Variegated Yellow Archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon subsp. argentatum
  7. Tree Slug Lehmannia marginata
  8. Leopard Slug Limax maximus
  9. Hairy-horned Springtail-hunter Loricera pilicornis
  10. Welsh Poppy Meconopsis cambrica
  11. Clay-coloured Weevil Otiorhynchus singularis
  12. Garlic Snail Oxychilus (Oxychilus) alliarius
  13. Butterbur Petasites hybridus
  14. Nettle Weevil Phyllobius pomaceus
  15. A gall mite Phyllocoptes eupadi
  16. Common Flat-backed Millipede Polydesmus angustus
  17. Great Blackclock Pterostichus niger
  18. A cranefly Tipula vittata

Thank you to all the recorders who attend on the day for providing your unique skills and good company. Your support has enabled us and SWT to learn more about the species present on site.

If you are interested in learning more about the SWSEIC Recorders Group and joining future excursions, please click here.

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