Seven new beetles identified from Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park


Edward Milner, who surveys beetles and spiders in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, writes:

My beetle expert Norman Heal has looked at beetles collected in May and June last year, and has identified seven new species for Cemetery Park. He’s got a lot more to catch up with so I suspect there will be a lot more new ones to come! No new spiders yet this year but you never know…

The best find was Ophonus stictus, a smallish ground beetle (family Carabidae): a Red Data Book species with a very restricted distribution in southern England, it is carnivorous. In a pitfall trap in Lockhart Field 1/7/18. See a photo here.

The other new species are:

Sphaeridium lunatum

Sphaeridium lunatum by Udo Schmidt , via Wikimedia Commons, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Sphaeridium lunatum, a water scavenger beetle (family Hydrophilidae), photo left: it is also associated with dung, presumably near water. Trapped by the Scrapyard Meadow pond 6/5/18. See its UK distribution here.

Peranus bimaculatus, a clown beetle (family Histeridae): it is nocturnal, feeds on carrion and dung, and has been used forensically to determine time/date of death of a corpse. In a pitfall on Scrapyard Meadow (not in the graveyard!) 6/5/18. See a photo here and its UK distribution here.


Phyllotreta nigripes, the Turnip Flea Beetle (family Chrysomelidae): it is associated with turnips and other plants in the cabbage family (Brassicacae). In a pitfall trap by the Scrapyard Meadow pond 1/9/18. See a photo here and its UK distribution here.

Black Snail Beetle (Silpha atrata)

Black Snail Beetle by Evanherk, via Wikimedia Commons, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Silpha atrata, the Black Snail Beetle (family Scymaenidae), photo left: a common carrion beetle that feeds on live snails, insects and earthworms, as well as on carrion. It has an elongated neck, which is used to reach into snail shells, which it sprays with a digestive fluid. In a pitfall trap in Lockhart Field 1/7/18. See its UK distribution and more photos here.

Ceutorhynchus cochleariae, a tiny leaf-mining weevil (family Curculionidae): associated with plants of the cabbage family (Brassicacae). Swept from vegetation in Scrapyard Meadow on 30/6/18. See a photo here and its UK distribution here.

Bruchidius villosus, the Broom Seed Beetle (family Curculionidae): associated with Broom, a native plant in Britain, it has been used as biological control agent against Broom in the United States where it is an invasive weed. Swept from vegetation 30/6/18. See the header photo by Udo Schmidt, via Wikimedia Commons, licence CC BY-SA 2.0. Read more here, and see its UK distribution here.

These additions bring the beetle list for Cemetery Park to 443 species.


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