Herts Invertebrate Project
Sat 02 Jun 2018
Led by: Ian Carle
Organised by: Herts Invertebrate Project
by Joe Gray
The eight people in attendance at this meeting enjoyed a fine day's weather for entomology and the group was rewarded with what was one of the most important finds made to date by the Herts Invertebrate Project. Guided by one of the Conservators of Therfield Heath, a speculative bit of grubbing by Ian Carle under a Bastard Toadflax in the Pen Hills area of the SSSI yielded the Down Shieldbug (Canthophorus impressus). This is a nationally scarce species of burrowing shieldbug never before found in Herts and thought to have been completely lost from its previous sites in the East of England. We also found a second individual under a plant very close to the first.
Not content with a first record for the county from his morning's work, Ian was at it again during the afternoon. Sweeping herbage in a set-aside area of Greys Farm that adjoins Therfield Heath, he found a ground-bug that he duly brought to my attention (as county recorder for terrestrial Heteroptera). It proved to be Megalonotus antennatus, a scarce and local species with an ecology that is poorly understood. The record was confirmed by Jim Flanagan, organizer of the national scheme for plantbugs and allies, as another county first.