Myrmecophily is widely acknowledged in butterflies, most notably in the Lycaenidae butterfly family with the particularly well documented and extreme example of the Large Blue Phengaris arion and it's close association with the red ant Myrmica sabuleti in which the latter provides shelter, protection and food (in the form of it's own brood) for the … Continue reading Myrmecophily In Adult Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) Butterflies?
As part of my work as a Website Editor for NatureSpot.org.uk (Britains largest database of wildlife, wildlife recording tools and identification resources with a million+ users each year) and my role in Leicestershire and Rutland with Ants and Ant recording I have produced a comprehensive resource page for help in the identification of ant species … Continue reading Brand New Identification Resource
As part of my remit on ants in Leicestershire and Rutland I had been tasked with creating the official 'Checklist of Ants in VC55' - exactly as it sounds, this is a checklist of all of the species of ant that can be found in Leicestershire and Rutland with some notes on current status and … Continue reading Checklist Of Ants In VC55
If there is a group of ants in the United Kingdom that are particularly hard to correctly identify to species level, then it is the Myrmica. Even when viewed under a steromicroscope the differences between species are often miniscule - hair placement and sculpturing for example. Even then, thanks to abrasion, specimen age or indeed … Continue reading Myrmica schencki – Nationally Scarce, New To VC55 And Already Under Threat
If you are a genuine all-round nature enthusiast like me, you probably have somewhere that you call 'your patch'. This is your go-to local place to see, watch, be amongst wildlife (you can find out more about mine here). With COVID-19 holding us in lockdown and with travel restricted, then like me you may well … Continue reading Lasius brunneus – New To Leicestershire and Rutland
Like many others I'm currently stuck indoors thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and this also means that I will not get the chance to visit any of my sites that are outside of walking distance from my home in search of ants. Wildlife though, thankfully does exist on our doorsteps, including ants! On one of … Continue reading A Very Different Myrmica
I've been out to some potential sites a number of times over the last few weeks sifting leaf litter in search of Leptothorax acervorum, the Slender Ant. The ant hasn't been recorded in VC55 Leicestershire and Rutland since 2004 which seems odd given it's a fairly common ant across the British Isles. There are a … Continue reading Leptothorax acervorum – Another Ant On The Map
I came across this fantastic article in The Guardian a couple of days ago, discussing the intricate farming and 'penning' methods used by Lasius brunneus in rearing the newly discovered Giant Pale Oak Aphid Stomaphis wojciechowskii. Crop farming (usually fungi) and live-stock farming in ants is well documented across the globe (just one other way … Continue reading Lasius brunneus – A Farming Life
Working through Harry Broughton's old records it's plain to see that Leicestershire and Rutland are far richer in ant species than modern records suggest. Whilst Formica fusca is the most common wood ant in Leicestershire, according to Harry, it wasn't the only one. His records between 1970 and 2001 suggest Formica lemani has a stronghold … Continue reading Lemani Lives On
Whilst out surveying a site in Leicestershire today I stumbled on a huge anomaly. I've previously mentioned that Leicestershire's largest ant, the wood ant Formica fusca is scarce across the county, with the huge majority of records from the well-wooded, heath-strewn uplands of the North West but that recently I was picking up records in … Continue reading A Huge Discovery, But New To Science?