Insect Walk at Little Assynt

August 21st 2019

A party of ten gathered on 30th June 2019 for a Field Club insect walk to the far side of Loch Beannach.  The forecast had not looked good, and the weather initially lived up to expectations, being showery and slightly chilly.  Given these conditions, our original destination seemed overly challenging and we relocated ourselves to the All Abilities Path, where, thankfully, a breeze kept midges at bay.  A brisk walk, in drizzle, took us to native woodland on the banks of Loch na h’Innse Fraoich (NC163261), which afforded some shelter.  There Stephen Moran, our insect specialist, was able to deploy a beating tray and we began to get to grips with the small animal life it revealed.

Lunch was taken at the viewpoint on the highest point of the Path, to get the benefit of the breeze, and afterwards Stephen started up his D-vac, a two-stroke leaf-blower adapted to suck.  The weather began to improve on the way back, enabling members to show their skills with a long-handled pond-net.

Amongst the wide range of insects noted were: dragonflies; stoneflies; barklice; bugs, hoppers and jumping plantlice; lacewings and spongeflies; leaf, soldier, dung and other beetles, including weevils; caddisflies; exquisite micro-moths and the leaf mines of their larvae, the stick caterpillar of a peacock moth, a newly emerged drinker moth; a snail-killing fly, a midge gall on willow, a fly gall on male fern; and sawflies.

Other invertebrates included: large black and tree slugs; the sinistral tree snail Balea perversa; woodlice; a small black harvestman Nemastoma bimaculatum, mite galls (erinea) on downy birch and rowan; and springtails (no longer insects, strictly speaking).  A full list of the finds is appended.

Despite the weather, it was a most enjoyable and productive visit, as can be seen from the small selection of many images contributed by David Haines, Pam Mackenzie and Gwen Richards.  Thanks to all those who took part, especially Stephen, whose wide-ranging expertise never fails to amaze us, and who was responsible for nearly all of the identifications.

Ian Evans

This item forms part of the Little Assynt Wildlife Project

List of species from insect walk

  1. NC170262: dor beetle Anoplotrupes stercorosus; large black slug Arion ater (dark brown and black varieties)


  1. NC16892628: springtail Tomocerus longicornis


  1. Beaten from willow Salixx multinervis at NC16342613: leaf beetle Luperus longicornis; soldier beetle Cantharis cf. pallida; micro-moth Argyresthia brockeella; Populicerus cf.confusus; mirid bug Psallus ?haematodes; hopper Oncopsis flavicollis; lacehopper Cixius cunicularius; lacehopper Cixiuscf..similis female; on leaves gall midge Iteomyia capreae


  1. Beaten from downy birch, NC16342613: micro-moth Argyresthia goerdatella; bug Neolygus [=Lygocoris] contaminatus; hopper Oncopsis flavicollis; soldier beetle Rhagonycha lignosa; hopper Kybossp.; birch leaf roller weevil Deporaus betulae; leaf miner moth Stigmella lapponica; spittlebug Philaenus spumarius; larva of lacewing Nineta cf. vittata; sawfly Tenthredo livida; barklice; nearby, galls of mite Eriophyes pyrion rowan leaves


  1. Beaten from hazel, NC16352608: bug Anthocoris nemorum; leaf weevil Phyllobiussp.; twig caterpillar of peacock moth; tree slug Lehmannia marginata; soldier beetle Malthode ssp.; common white wave moth; sawfly Tenthredo livida; snail Balea perversa (sinistral, 5mm., 6 whorls, immature)


  1. NC16352608: galls of anthomyiid fly Chirosia betuletion golden-scaled male-fern


  1. Viewpoint at NC16372601 (D-vac deployed): mirid bug Charagocheilus gyllenhallion heath bedstraw; magpie moth; nymph of bug Mecomma ambulans; micro-moth Argyresthia brockeella; hopper Psammotettix sp.; harvestman Nemastoma bimaculatum; sciomyzid (snail-killing) fly Limnaeasp.; beetle Anacaena globulus


  1. NC16472607, on downy birch: galls of mite Acalitus rudis on leaves; leaves damaged by larvae of micro-moth Ectodaemia sp.


  1. NC16462622, around public toilet (D-vac deployed): leaf roll galls of psyllid Craspedolepta nebulosaon rosebay willowherb; caddisfly Mystacides azurea


  1. NC16592625: hopper Neophilaenus lineatus; sponge-fly Sisyra nigra


  1. Bridges at NC16682628: pond skater Gerris lacustris male; nymph of darter dragonfly Sympetrum cf. striolatum (BB); drinker moth adult, recently emerged from cocoon (DH); stonefly Chloroperla torrentium

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