Wednesday, 22 October 2014

New key to Cryptophagidae published

Peter Barnard in Identifying British Insects and Arachnids: An Annotated Bibliography of Key Works writes about the beetle family Cryptophagidae that there is "no comprehensive key work to the group yet available"

This is a first attempt to make a contribution to this gap in knowledge on the web.  I've just published an illustrated key to the genera of Cryptophagidae which includes keys to species of all the genera except the big two, Atomaria and Cryptophagus.  I am working on translations of these as I can and will publish them in due course.  The key is published at

As always if you use this key (or any on the site) please let me have your comments so that I can improve their quality and clarity.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

New keys for families Megalopodidae and Scraptiidae

I have just published keys to the British species of Megalopodidae and Scraptiidae (beetles), which can be found here -



The Scraptiidae beetles are found as adults on the blossom of spring-flowering shrubs, particularly hawthorn.  Males are relatively easy to identify as they have appendages under the abdomen which are characteristic for different species.  The most recent beetle checklist has fourteen species listed, but another is listed on the NBN distribution maps.  This is all mentioned in the key.  

The three species of Megalopodidae, all in genus Zeugophora are associated with poplars.  One of them is restricted to the Scottish Highlands while the other two have a more general distribution in Britain.

As always if you find the keys useful, please tell me.  If you find some things are difficult to follow or are plain inaccurate, please let me know and I'll correct them.  It is my aim to have a resource that will be of use to entomologists.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The North Hampshire Aspleniaceae

There are four species of the spleenwort family (Aspleniaceae) found in the wild in North Hampshire.  I've been looking out for the final one for some time and stumbled across Ceterach officinarum (rusty-back fern) on a wall on the footpath going east from the car park by Whitchurch library.  This wall also had also specimens of Asplenium trichomanes.  I had found this species before on a wall alongside the railway by the old station at Oakley on the site of Basingstoke Building Supplies.  I have found the other two species on the old Roman walls at Silchester.  Here are photos of the four species:

  Asplenium adiantum-nigrum

Asplenium ruta-muraria

 Asplenium trichomanes

 Ceterach officinarum

New Beetle Keys - Dermestidae, Tenebrionidae and Oedemeridae

I have recently posted keys to three families of beetle on the site.  These are keys to the British species of 
  • Dermestidae,
  • Tenebrionidae
  • Oedemeridae. 
This adds illustrated identification guides for a further 97 species of British beetles.  They are illustrated mostly using the images from the Iconographia Coleopterorum Poloniae, with permission kindly granted by Lech Borowiec.  I hope you find them useful.  If you find any problems with them or points for improvement, please drop me an e-mail.