Tuesday, 5 February 2013

10th Coleopterists Day


On February 2nd we hosted for the second year the annual national beetle (Coleoptera) enthusiasts day, with the fifty attendees coming from as far as Cornwall and Lancashire. The day kicked off with proper coffee, tea and biscuits and then a series of talks, followed by a tour of the entomology department and a dung beetle workshop. 

The talks presented were a nice mix of professional, student and enthusiast and were enjoyable and entertaining. The talks were: Using traits to evaluate ladybird distributions – Richard Comont, CEH; Prionus coriarius in Richmond Park – John Lock; Suckers & sexual conflict in diving beetles – Dave Bilton, Plymouth University; Studying the ecology of British Oil Beetles – John Walters; New initiatives to support beetle recording in Britain – Helen Roy, BRC.

Coleoptera, beetles, lecture, OUMNH
Helen Roy presenting her talk on beetle recording in Britain
The collections (thanks to Amoret Spooner) and Library (thanks to the Librarian Kate Santry) were accessible throughout the afternoon, and many took advantage of using the library (for the first time) and the collections to confirm identifications against our reference material or just to see the more unusual species and extract data. 

The workshop ‘Dung Beetle Identification’ was a bit of squeeze in our teaching area, with a few too many enthusiastic coleopterists wanting to know how to identify the small and often difficult Aphodius


Coleoptera, beetles, dung beetles, Scarabaeidae, British, identification
Darren Mann presenting his workshop on dung beetle identification
However, using our digital video set-up and monitor we managed to get through the entire dung beetle fauna, giving tips and tricks on their identification and interpretation of the key couplets, the stalwart coleopterists continuing until 8pm.

Coleoptera, beetles, identification, course, Scarabaeidae, characters, morphology
Darren Mann using the video microscope to show characters used in the identification of British dung beetle species

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