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***Time to look out for wasps***
the HBRG Wasp Atlas Project

The warm weather in the past few days has brought out at least 4 species of social wasp, waking up the hibernating queens.  Please record all social wasps you encounter, but while avoiding being stung!

All dead wasps, especially from remoter and less well recorded areas, are valuable scientific specimens, so collect and keep them. Either send them to me, or photograph them and email the pics.  A full-face shot is usually essential, while side and top views are helpful.
All details of the project and current maps, are on our website.

HOT OFF THE PRESSES, 23 July!  German Wasps are nesting in Ullapool, the first to have been recorded in West Ross.

Some snippets of interest (scroll down to see all)
  • Three times in the past week I have found the parasitic mite Riccardoella on molluscs in the garden - once on the snail Cornu aspersum and twice on Great Grey Slugs Limax maximus.  See last year's 'Highland Naturalist' for an article on these tiny creatures by Chris du Feu.  Worth keeping an eye open on any molluscs you meet in the garden.  Although the two species can't reliably be identified from the host, they are so under-recorded that any records of the genus are worth reporting, especially of you can identify the host as well.  An excellent video (one of several if you search online) is here.  They really do move that fast!
  • Our second record of the year of 'the' House-fly Musca domestica was obtained at breakfast-time today.  This remarkably scarce fly is one of our TRY! targets, so please read, examine any irritating flies in your dining-room, and send the record.  We have only 43 records in Highland since 2011.
  • There are lots of Red Admirals around just now.  There were 10 on the high moor N of Evanton, some feeding on Heather, as well as two on the garden Buddleia.  If you see any, please send in the records.
  • Work at Loch Arkaig by one of our members has hit the national headlines in this article.  Well done Ian, the 'tenacious ecologist'!.
  • The harvestman Dicranopalpus ramosus agg. is widespread in Highland and has been found for the first time in W Ross in Ullapool.  A few years ago we could have called it D. ramosus, but with the discovery of the very similar D. caudatus you now need a microscope to get to a species.  The genus is very easy to recognise from its splay-legged stanceLinosyris, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons and habit of sitting on white-painted surfaces, so even if you can't get a species please report any sightings.  Further information is here and here.

Comma Polygonia c-album is being regularly reported though I have still to see one in Highland.  Please report any sightings.  The animated map below shows the spread in Highland based on records in the public domain (NBN Atlas, iRecord, HBRG).  That has been especially obvious since 2015.
***It has just been reported from Lochcarron, the first record in W Ross!***

© Brian Etheridge
Comma spread

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