A new beetle for the pond

Our newest arrival

Our newest arrival - a whole 4 mm, but no less important for that

Yesterday Katy and I found a new beetle for the pond – its a small scavenger water beetle, unfortunately with no English name. Just like you need a pair of binoculars to appreciate birds properly so with little chaps like these you really need a low power binocular microscope to get a feel for them.

Enochrus coarctatus (ee-knock-rus co-ark-tay-tus) is not especially endangered – the known British distribution is below – but its always nice to see this group of beetles (there are ten kinds of Enochrus recorded in Britain). They make you feel the pond is a little bit upmarket. We only found it in about one in five of the top notch, least damaged, ponds of Pond Conservation’s National Pond Survey so it is a beetle of nicer places.

Distribution of Enochrus coarctatus in Britain and Ireland

Distribution of Enochrus coarctatus in Britain and Ireland

The habitat is pools with rich vegetation: I suspect its not often (ever?) been seen in a garden pond but then not many garden ponds have nice grassy edges like mine, and water beetles just love grassy edges.

Its actually one of the many LBJs of the pond world and takes a bit of identifying (for the beetlers who might be reading this it was a male, so easy to confirm the identity).

Little animals like this are actually quite easily recognised by those who really know their beetles (me, I need to get the microscope out). For the average pond dipper they are just another little brown beetle but I suspect in 10 years time animals like this will be in the realms of ordinary field guide natural history although at present the Collins guide is rubbish for beetles and completely misrepresents their true variety. Its a bit like having the warbler section of a bird field guide showing just a blackcap and a chiffchaff, and simply ignoring garden warblers, willow warblers, common whitethroats, Dartford warblers and all the rest.

You can see the original of the picture above at this splendid stream of Flikr photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/coleoptera-us/3052939128/

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