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An observational challenge


beetle poster

Ashleigh Whiffin, Assistant Curator of Entomology at National Museum of Scotland showed the Nats her place of work. Truly a building of the 21st century where stories of earlier times are unravelled. Having heard about liquidising insects and DNA splitting the resulting soup, Ashleigh asked the Nats to help in a more traditional way. Ashleigh's pet group of insects is the Silphidae, aka carrion beetles. One unusual member of the Silphidae is the predatory beetle Dendroxena quadrimaculata. The beetle has previously been recorded predating caterpillars in oak trees, however, there are very few records, especially in Scotland. Finding the beetle can be by examining trees, especially oak, possibly hawthorn or others that play host to caterpillars. Some people prefer to sweep the canopy with a net to find the beetles in the photograph. They can be recorded on iRecord or email silphidae@brc.ac.uk including a photograph, grid reference and other information that you think may be helpful. Good Hunting.

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