New beetle records in Cemetery and Mile End Parks


Local spider expert Edward Milner writes:

The beetle lists for Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and Mile End Park continue to grow, as my regular surveys have found more new species: 18 in Cemetery Park and eight at Mile End Park. These have all been identified by beetle expert Norman Heal. The new additions bring the beetle lists for Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and Mile End Park to 478 and 448 respectively.

Photo of the beetle Onthophagus medius

Onthophagus medius (Oxford University Museum of Natural History, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Two particularly interesting records from Cemetery Park are Onthophagus medius (left) and Saprosites natalensis. Onthophagus medius is a dung beetle in the family Scarabaeidae. It is a very local species in Britain, restricted to southern England. It is usually associated with horse, cattle or sheep dung in lowland pastures, which makes its presence in Cemetery Park very unusual. Single individuals were found in Lockhart Field in 2019 and Lodge Graves in 2020, associated with dog dung.

Saprosites natalensis (header photo) is also a member of the family Scarabaeidae, but feeds on wood rather than dung. It is an Australian species that was first found in Britain in 1982, in Chiswick House grounds and Richmond Park. It has now been found in a few places in and around London, and appears to be spreading – see the map below, generated from MapMate by using data held by the National Recording Scheme (click map to enlarge).

Map of the distribution of Saprosites natalensis in the British Isles

Distribution of Saprosites natalensis (DJ & CM Mann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Also new to Cemetery Park are two ladybirds (family Coccinellidae). One of these, the 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) (below left) is a very common species which most have been seen here before, but somehow never got onto my list. The other new ladybird is the Pine Ladybird (Exochomus quadripustulatus) (below right), a small dark ladybird with four spots.

Photo of 7-spot Ladybird

7-spot Ladybird (Dominik Stodulski Graphic Processing, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Photo of Pine Ladybird

Pine Ladybird (Francisco Welter-Schultes, CC0)









Photo of the beetle Dromius quadrimaculatus

Dromius quadrimaculatus (Tristram Brelstaff CC BY-SA 3.0)

Three new rove beetles (family Staphylinidae) have been identified in Cemetery Park: Sepedophilus marshami, Stenus cicindeloides, and Liogluta granigera.

New ground beetles (family Carabidae) in Cemetery Park include the rather scarce Amara plebija and the boldly-marked Dromius quadrimaculatus (left), as well as Acupalpus exiguous and Notiophilus quadripunctatus.





Photo of the beetle Cantharis nigricans

Cantharis nigricans (James Lindsey, CC By-SA 3.0)

The other new species for Cemetery Park are Ceutorhynchus turbatus, a very attractive little weevil (family Curculionidae) associated with Hoary Cress; Cantharis nigricans (left), a soldier beetle (family Cantharidae) which is common and widespread throughout the UK; Trixagus obtusus, a false click beetle (family Throscidae) common in Southern England; the flower beetles Dasytes aeratus (family Melyridae) and Olibrus aeneus (family Phalacridae); and two leaf beetles (family Chrysomelidae) that feed on thistles, Sphaeroderma testaceum and Psylliodes chalcomera.





The most interesting new record from Mile End Park is a recent arrival in Britain, Bruchidius imbricornis. A seed beetle (family Chrysomelidae) that feeds on the seeds of Goat’s-rue, B. imbricornis was first recorded in Britain in south Essex in 2012 by Peter Hodge. You can read his account of the find in this scientific paper.

Photo of the weevil Pseudapion rufirostre

Pseudapion rufirostre (Janet Graham, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Two weevils have been found new to Mile End Park. Pseudapion rufirostre (family Apionidae) (left) is widespread in southern Britain and feeds on mallows. The Broom Seed Weevil (Bruchidius villosus, family Curculionidae), as its name suggests, feeds on the seeds of Broom.

Other new finds in Mile End Park include Encephalus complicans (below left), a fairly scarce stubby rove beetle (family Staphylinidae); the soldier beetle Cantharis nigricans (described above in the list of new Cemetery Park finds); the Ivy Ladybird (Nephus quadrimaculatus, family Coccinellidae) (below right); Kissophagus vicinus (family Scolytidae), a bark beetle also associated with Ivy; and the ground beetle Pterostichus vernalis (family Carabidae).



Photo of the rove beetle Encephalus complicans

Encephalus complicans (UR Schmitt, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Photo of a Pine ladybird

Ivy Ladybird (Gilles San Martin, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)


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