April 2006

Now that Spring is here, there are rustlings in the undergrowth and apart from the minute inhabitants, the rustling sounds are coming from experts who are determined to catalogue the extent of wildlife within the Radley Lakes currently under threat.   As a result of these sorties, Darren Mann, the Curatorial Officer of Hope Entomological Collections  Oxford University Museum of Natural History has identified an especially rare species of oil beetle which was found by one of our Ecologists, and sent to him for formal identification.

The beetle has been identified as  Meloe rugosus, which is a Nationally Rare (RDB3) oil beetle.
An extract from Darren’s confirmation (dated 11 April 2006) of this identification is as follows:
The Oil Beetle found at Radley was Meloe rugosus. This species is regarded as a red data book three (rare) species in the UK, with recent records from only five counties. In Oxfordshire area (vice-counties Oxon and Berks) I know of the following records:

  Berkshire (VC 22)  

Streatley [SU58]: Fowler & Donisthorpe, 1913: 300 (Joy, -1913)
Hitchcopse Pit [SU49]: OBRC (Denton, 1996; Harrison, 1998);

HEC coll. (Newman. 1999); Aitkin, 2001 pers comm. (2001)

Dry Sandford Pit [SU49] Whitton, 1999 pers comm. (1976)
Hill End Camp [SP40]: OBRC (Bee, 1995, 1996)

  Oxfordshire (VC 23)  

Shotover [SP50]: Walker, 1928: 89 (Munro, 1927)
Taynton Quarries [SU21]: OBRC (Campbell, 1991, 1993)
Emmer Green [SU77]: RMS coll. (Notton, 1992)
Chambers Copse [SU77]: RMS coll. (Notton, 1985)
 Hartslock [SU67]: Raper, 2001 pers comm. (1995)
Warburg [SU78]: Raper, 2001 pers comm. (d’Ayala, 1999)


Darren J. Mann
Curatorial Officer - Hope Entomological Collections
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Parks Road , OXFORD OX1 3PW


So, our Ecologists are out there, searching and detailing their finds, to ensure that the site is fully surveyed, unlike NPower's Ecological Study which is economic with the listings of wildlife - we think that their Contractors must have visited the wrong site - perhaps they went to Aldermaston Gravel Pits by mistake!


  Oil Beetle, discovered at Radley Lakes.   

Click on the picture for further information on this beetle

Just so that you know what an oil beetle looks like!
  For more information on species at the Radley Lakes, visit http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/ourvillage/NaturalHistory.htm  


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