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Rain stops play
Summer 2012. The excess of rain has had a dramatic impact on barkfly abundance. All around the country barkflies have been difficult to find. This was particularly evident during the annual summer field meeting of the Dipterists Forum in late July, when a group of entomologists sampling insects for a whole week only managed to detect six species. Only Valenzuela burmeisteri could be found in any abundance, typically amongst the foliage of evergreen trees and shrubs, especially juniper. Graphopsocus cruciatus was the most widespread species found, albeit as singletons; the other species detected were Mesopsocus unipunctatus , Stenopsocus immaculatus, Elipsocus hyalinus and Loensia fasciata.

Identification Workshop
September 2012. There will be a Barkfly Identification Weekend Workshop over September 29th and 30th, organised by Buglife Scotland in Stirling. Interested people should contact Suzanne Bairner (suzanne.bairner{at}buglife.org.uk).

The Barkflies & Booklice (Psocoptera) of Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly
July 2011. This is now available as a printed document or download (pdf). It contains all of the known records from the county organized by 10km square and has a brief assessment of the known habitat associations and local status. It is illustrated with a few tetrad distribution maps and some of Joe Botting's images of selected species

Bob Saville
September 2010. We are very sad to report the death of Bob Saville, coordinator of the recording scheme. This website is a testament to his energy, enthusiasm and expertise (more details). Keith Alexander will be taking on the business of the recording scheme.

Aaroniella badonneli
September 2010. The Sussex Barkfly Recorder, Marcus Oldfield, recently noticed some curious-looking barkflies under extensive webs on the trunks of trees 100m from his house in Brighton. Remarkably these turned out to be Aaroniella badonneli a species not previously seen in Britain. Even in Europe this species is not widespread and has only been recorded in Italy, Russia and France. Marcus has since found extensive colonies over a wide area with hundreds of individuals present - this very distinctive species is definitely one to keep an eye out for.

Notable observations
August 2010. A summary of the notable barkfly observations made in 2008-9 has recently been published.

Psocid feeding preferences
March 2010. Are barkflies fussy eaters? It is known that they feed on lichens, algae, fungi and other plant matter but will a lichen feeder, say, only eat certain lichen species or will it happily eat any lichen? A recent study providing a method for answering this question has recently been published.

Hyalopsocus morio rediscovered
June 2009. While removing Virginia creeper from a Cotswold stone house in Lechlade on 23rd June David Scott-Langley made a remarkable discovery. He uncovered a colony (about 50 specimens) of the very dark barkfly Hyalopsocus morio - a species not seen in Britain since 1867! Is this genuinely rare or under-recorded? It will be worth checking out any lichen-covered stone walls you come across.

NBN Gateway updated
April 2009. The number of barkfly records held by the scheme has just reached 7,500 - enough to warrant sending an update to the NBN Gateway. Viewing the mapped records of a species can occasionally show previously unsuspected patterns. For example, take a look at the map of Caecilius fuscopterus. Why is its distribution in Britain (as opposed to Ireland) so different from other species?

Distinguishing Stenopsocus immaculatus from S. lachlani
March 2009. Distinguishing Stenopsocus immaculatus from S. lachlani has always been difficult in Britain but a recent study has thrown light on the problem. It turns out that British S. immaculatus specimens are so much more variable than those on the Continent that most of the usual identification characters do not work. All the previous records of S. lachlani are now thought to be of S. immaculatus and it appears that S. lachlani does not occur in Britain. For details of the findings look at the published article.

Online key
Dec 2008. The online key for identifying adult British and Irish barkflies is now ready for use. The preparation of the key has been a substantial piece of work and particular thanks go to Jim Bacon from BRC for all his help. If you have any comments or queries about the key please contact Bob Saville (bob.saville@blueyonder.co.uk).

David Jones
Dec 2008. Most people who record barkflies tend to restrict fieldwork to May - October and there are few records outside this period. One person who hasn't followed this trend is David Jones who has been continuously observing the wildlife in his Aldershot garden for many years. The results are a real eye-opener! What has he found? Check for yourself on his website: www.mybitoftheplanet.com. Start by looking at his garden diary entries for October 2008 and carry on from there.

Atlantopsocus adustus
2007. Keith Alexander has discovered that his find of Atlantopsocus adustus in Cornwall last year was not a one-off occurrence. He has now found it at six additional Cornish sites, so it would seem that Cornwall is the stronghold of the species in England. Or is it? Marcus Oldfield has also found the species this year near Brighton, Sussex so there is still a great deal to be learned about its distribution.

Peripsocus consobrinus
2007. The most elusive of all barkflies is Peripsocus consobrinus. The species was described from a single specimen found in 1930 and since then, nothing - no further finds from anywhere in the world! That is until this year when two specimens were found by Bob Saville in Argyll, Scotland in, of all places, a Sitka spruce plantation.

Stenopsocus immaculatus and Stenopsocus lachlani
2007. On the Continent Stenopsocus immaculatus and S. lachlani can be readily distinguished but a recent study by Bob Saville has shown that this is not the case here. This initial study of 60 specimens suggests that none of the available keys are suitable for separating the two species in Britain and Ireland. But more work is required to resolve the issue and there is a particular need to study specimens from as many locations as possible. Please send any specimens that you collect to Bob (address on Recording Scheme page).

Website launched.
11th April, 2007. With material provided by Bob Saville and web-hosting and design from BRC, the new National Barkfly Recording Scheme website was first made public today.

Psocus bipunctatus
2007. The last sightings of some barkfly species were made so long ago that you would be forgiven for thinking that they had become extinct. The most extreme example is Psocus bipunctatus which was last seen in London and Suffolk in 1836. But last year Laurence Clemons collected a number of specimens at Blaxland Farm in Kent proving that even the most apparently unlikely species can still turn up.

Atlantopsocus adustus.
2006. Atlantopsocus personatus has been recorded for many years in Ireland but was unknown on the British mainland. In 2006 that seemed to change when Keith Alexander found two Atlantopsocus specimens in Cornwall. These specimens have in fact turned out to be Atlantopsocus adustus - new to Britain and Ireland! As it happens these were not the only Atlantopsocus specimens collected by Keith in 2006; he also recorded a number at three old parkland sites in Northern Ireland. Surely these were all A. personatus, the species that Ireland is known for? In fact they all turned out to be A. adustus! Read more...

Peripsocus parvulus.
2006. There has only been one record of Peripsocus parvulus in Britain and that was made long ago - Robert McLachlan found it in the New Forest in 1890. It is consequently remarkable that in 2006 the species was recorded at three sites. Bob Saville found it at two sites in the Peak District, Derbyshire and Keith Alexander recorded it in Monmouthshire.

Propsocus pulchripennis.
2006. Since its discovery in Britain by Peter Kirby in 2000 Propsocus pulchripennis has been something of a curiosity. It was found at an unusual location (Isles of Scilly), in an unusual habitat (short grassy vegetation close to the high tide mark) and erratically (no specimens found at the known locations in 2002). And now the plot thickens! Marcus Oldfield recorded the species in 2006 on coastal vegetation at Newhaven, East Sussex. Is it going to prove to be widespread along the south coast?

 

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