Arachnologist Meeting in Perth- SAM 2012
The first meeting of Arachnologists in Scotland for many years is taking place in Perth Museum on August 25th.  SAM 2012 ,  the Scottish Arachnologists’ Meeting,  is free and open to all. It provides a great opportunity for anyone interested in harvestmen, pseudoscorpions and spiders t to learn from others. It is hoped it will encourage more people to get more involved with arachnid survey and ecological studies of these important predators   in Scotland.
From house spiders and garden arachnids  to harvestmen of the Falkland Islands there is a varied programme of talks with an optional field day .
From small mesh weaver to the extraordinary gallows or wood ant spider and a number of  lively jumping spiders Badenoch & Strathspey & the Cairngorms area  harbours a fascinating range of arachnids including some scarce and threatened species that have been overlooked on sites threatened by development.  BSCG has for example documented the wood ant eating or gallows spider  Dipoena torva on three sites proposed for new housing development.
Reflecting improved knowledge BSCG anticipates there will be further  species  of arachnid highlighted  as conservation priorities  in the forthcoming second Cairngorms Local Biodiversity Action Plan .
Information on SAM 2012 is being provided on the British Arachnological Society website. BSCG can also supply booking forms  for the meeting.
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CAPTIONS
A male money  spider (Dismodicus)  found recently in Juniper on a threatened site in Strathspey.  The prominent head extension appears to accommodate secretory pits   and may be associated with mating but we know of no detailed study of the function of such  structures in spiders.
Spiders are important predators here a spider on a threatened site in Strathspey with a  leaf hopper. In turn spiders provide food for birds and some birds exploit spider silk when constructing their nests as  recently described on Springwatch  that has been following the fortunes of the nest of a goldcrest through summer gales.
An arachnologist using suction to sample spiders in Scots pine  woodland in Strathspey that is a habitat supporting many kinds of  arachnids.

The first meeting of Arachnologists in Scotland for many years is taking place in Perth Museum on August 25th.  SAM 2012 ,  the Scottish Arachnologists’ Meeting,  is free and open to all. It provides a great opportunity for anyone interested in harvestmen, pseudoscorpions and spiders t to learn from others. It is hoped it will encourage more people to get more involved with arachnid survey and ecological studies of these important predators   in Scotland. 

From house spiders and garden arachnids  to harvestmen of the Falkland Islands there is a varied programme of talks with an optional field day. 

From small mesh weaver to the extraordinary gallows or wood ant spider and a number of  lively jumping spiders Badenoch & Strathspey & the Cairngorms area  harbours a fascinating range of arachnids including some scarce and threatened species that have been overlooked on sites threatened by development.  BSCG has for example documented the wood ant eating or gallows spider  Dipoena torva on three sites proposed for new housing development.

Reflecting improved knowledge BSCG anticipates there will be further  species  of arachnid highlighted  as conservation priorities  in the forthcoming second Cairngorms Local Biodiversity Action Plan.

Information on SAM 2012 is being provided on the British Arachnological Society website. BSCG can also supply booking forms  for the meeting.

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A male money  spider (Dismodicus)  found recently in Juniper on a threatened site in Strathspey.  The prominent head extension appears to accommodate secretory pits   and may be associated with mating but we know of no detailed study of the function of such  structures in spiders.

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Spiders are important predators here a spider on a threatened site in Strathspey with a  leaf hopper. In turn spiders provide food for birds and some birds exploit spider silk when constructing their nests as  recently described on Springwatch  that has been following the fortunes of the nest of a goldcrest through summer gales.

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An arachnologist using suction to sample spiders in Scots pine  woodland in Strathspey that is a habitat supporting many kinds of  arachnids.

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 Gallows spider with wood ant prey at a  threatened site in Strathspey one of several where BSCG has found this spider that is on the Scottish Biodiversity List.

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The Heather shieldbug Rhacognathus punctatus on lowland heath woodland transition habitat with birch in Strathspey.

This is a local species that BSCG has since 2009 photographed on this threatened An Camas Mor site. In 1994 Stewart Taylor - whose contributions to conservation in the North of Scotland have been recognized by an MBE honour this year - recorded this bug  in a clearing in Anagach wood. Currently Stewart Taylor's record is the only one for this bug available on the NESBReC website or on the National Biodiversity Network for the Cairngorms area.

The capercaillie is on the  UK red list of birds of high conservation concern, BTO Bird Facts:
http://blx1.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob3350.htm

SNH have now rightly  emphasised the  importance of  woodlands in Strathspey for the survival of  this magnificent bird in Scotland, see The Scotsman article: http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/Capercaillies-on-brink-of-extinction.6692483.jp

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Cock capercaillie photographed in Deeside where capercaillie  have now become extremely rare. Copyright 2011BSCG. 

There are a few hundred kinds of springtails recorded from the UK but we do not even know of an educated guess for the numbers of different kinds currently living in the soil under our feet in Badenoch and Strathspey. As with much of the biodiversity around us there is a lot to learn.
 
Famously in August 2009 BSCG member Tim Ransom found the first member of the species of springtail Bourletiella viridescens for Britain. For those not seeking to aspire to add a new kind of creature to the British list but simply developing an interest in macro-photography, springtails  provide an interesting challenge and are still around in the soil in winter. 
 
This winter a few members are starting work on a preliminary key to the identification of our local springtails. Needless to say  Tim  described by the Scotsman as an “eagle-eyed  expert” is the enthusiast behind this project on these little and  also little appreciated creatures. His experience that includes producing another such local key will be invaluable.
 
Bourletiella viridescens has not been rediscovered on Cairn Gorm this year and unfortunately some specialists, who had hoped to come and look for it and other species on Cairn Gorm,  failed to raise the funding they needed to visit. The iconic local springtail has however been adopted as the logo for a popular and widely distributed newsletter about Invertebrates in Scotland the second edition of which is now available as a pdf from Buglife Scotland.
 
 Now that we have started looking hopefully we can add to understanding about the very little explored biodiversity of springtails we have. We can expect  there to be more kinds in our district waiting to be recorded and who knows what interesting new discoveries? All springtail photos will be gratefully received and If you are interesting in becoming involved in the springtail (Collembola) spotting project don’t hesitate to phone 01479 821 491.

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The now relatively famous  Bourletiella viridescens, blown up to look much larger than 1mm, from an article shortly after the unexpected discovery  published in Sepetember 2009 in the Scotsman newspaper.

This attractive bee species has been recorded quite widely in the Cairngorm National Park but usually it is only single individuals foraging that are observed whereas BSCG found a nesting site with a congregation of up to 15 females within Deshar Wood in May 2009 directly within the area proposed for clear-felling by the developers Davall for a housing development.
According to the records on NBN this is the first time within the Cairngorm National Park that a congregational nesting site has been found for this species. Normally the nest burrows for this species are widely scattered rather than being as a congregation so to find up to 15 females all nesting together in one small area within the woodland is uncommon. According to a hymenopteran expert from the Bees, Wasps and Ant Society (BWARS) the finding of a congregational nesting site for this species is a 'great discovery' as it is uncommon to find one.
The main foodplant for this bee species is blaeberry of which there is an abundance within Deshar Wood and any disturbance caused to this nesting colony will be of a detrimental value for the survival of this species within this woodland and will cause the loss of the only apparently recorded congregational nesting site within the Cairngorm National Park.

This attractive bee species has been recorded quite widely in the Cairngorm National Park but usually it is only single individuals foraging that are observed whereas BSCG found a nesting site with a congregation of up to 15 females within Boat of Garten wood in May 2009 directly within the area proposed for clear-felling by the developers Davall for a housing development. 

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Bee - Andrena lapponica. © 2009 Tim Ransom, BSCG.

According to the records on NBN this is the first time within the Cairngorm National Park that a congregational nesting site has been found for this species. Normally the nest burrows for this species are widely scattered rather than being as a congregation so to find up to 15 females all nesting together in one small area within the woodland is uncommon. According to a hymenopteran expert from the Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society (BWARS) the finding of a congregational nesting site for this species is a 'great discovery' as it is uncommon to find one.

The main food plants for the bee are  considered to be species of Vaccinium  of which there is an abundance within Boat of Garten wood and any disturbance caused to this nesting colony will be of a detrimental value for the survival of this species within this woodland and will cause the loss of the only apparently recorded congregational nesting site within the Cairngorm National Park.

Following our excellent ‘Butterflies and magical moths of the Mossie’ Illustrated Talk by Dr Tom Prescott, Species Conservation Officer Butterfly Conservation Scotland, here are the area recorders:

Moth records to…

VC 95, Moray
Michael Taylor, Allasdale, Kinchurdy Road, Boat of Garten, Inverness-shire, PH24 3BP.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel 01479 831060.

VC 96, East Inverness-shire
Pete Moore, 90A High Street, Grantown-on-Spey, Inverness-shire, PH26 3EL
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel 01540 661518 or 01479 872261. 


Rannoch sprawler

 Rannoch sprawler 'Brachionycha nubeculosa' a moth to look out for early in the season camouflaged on a birch tree. Taken in Milton Wood Aviemore. © 2010 BSCG.