Record Centre News

Downland Bees and Wasps Get a Health Check

Halictus eurygnathus

Halictus eurygnathus had been considered extinct in Britain but was rediscovered at seven sites. It forages primarily on Greater Knapweed.

Warwickshire entomologist Steven Falk has recently completed a major study of the bees and wasps of fifteen downland sites in East Sussex. The image-rich report is now available for download.

Download Report [PDF 4.5MB]

227 species of bee and wasp were recorded including many rarities. Most notable amongst these was a solitary bee, Halictus eurygnathus, which had not been seen in Britain since 1946 and was considered nationally extinct. But reports of its demise were clearly premature as it was eventually found at seven sites. Females rely very heavily upon greater knapweed as a pollen source, and with this new information, it should be possible to conserve it and hopefully help it to spread.

The study also revealed the important role that arable field margins, flowery fallow fields and blossoming shrubs such as blackthorn play in supporting bees on the Downs. One of Britain’s rarest mining bees Andrena niveata was found to forage primarily from flowers of charlock and hedge-mustard at the edges of rape crops, a relationship that had not been noted anywhere previously.

The study also revealed that some species are in trouble in East Sussex including Britain’s largest mining bee Andrena hattorfiana which forages on scabiouses. The study also failed to rediscover Culluman’s bumblebee which was last recorded in Britain in 1926 and seemingly had a good population in the Seaford area.

Steve also recorded the two-winged flies (Diptera) in the areas he visited and this will be subject to a future report. Hopefully the study will help the various landowners and land managers of the South Downs to promote these important insects, especially given the growing international concern regarding declining pollinators. Steven is also keen to encourage local naturalists to investigate less popular insect groups of the Downs.

Planning Advice for Biodiversity

Sussex Wildlife Trust have posted a wealth of useful advice on their website regarding planning and biodiversity.

[ Sussex Wildlife Trust planning advice ]

The Government’s Planning Policy Statement 9 “sets out planning policies on protection of biodiversity and geological conservation through the planning system.” Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre can, as always, provide you with vital biodiversity information essential in making or responding to planning applications. Get in touch to discuss your project.

Sussex Lichen Checklist 2006

Simon Davey, Sussex lichen recorder

Simon Davey, Sussex county lichen recorder and British Lichen Society representative, has produced a comprehensive checklist of Lichen found in Sussex. Simon has put a lot of time and effort into the list and so we would like to thank him for providing the community with such a useful resource.

Two versions of the checklist are available:

Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides

The seaweed Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides

Patrick Roper, our rare species coordinator, has penned another fascinating SxBRC Occasional Paper. Number 7 in the series, this paper briefly examines the seaweed Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides, one of the species found on the Priority List of Problem Species in Need of Control.

[ Download SxBRC Occaional Paper No. 7 ]

Picture: Luis A. Solorzano, californiabiota.com

Development Plan

[SxBRC Development Plan PDF Download] (1.3MB)

Local Record Centres have a complex spread of relationships and it is important that we plan ahead and stay on top of the heavy demand for information and maintain the flexibility that we need in order to provide a useful and dynamic service for our data users and providers. To this end we have written a three year Development Plan, spanning from 1st April 2006 to the 31st March 2009.

This plan will help us stay abreast of the multitude of issues that need consideration when developing an LRC. Consultation for this document has taken place through our Steering Group, the Sussex Committee for Biological Recording and the Trustees and Heads of Department of the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

We would be very pleased to receive any feedback.

[SxBRC Development Plan PDF Download] (1MB)

Adastra 2005

The new 2005-06 edition of Adastra, our annual review of wildlife recording in Sussex, is now available for download from our publications page. In addition to the usual species group reviews, things to watch out for in this edition are: “An introduction to the marine algal flora of Sussex”, “The value of insect records in site assessment and management plans” and a report on “Habitat creation at Rye Harbour”.

Download Adastra 2005 [PDF – 1.1MB]