Invertebrate Survey Techniques Course Aug 012

Sweeping for invertebrate soup!

The Invertebrate Sampling Course at Kindrogan took place between the 21st and 25th August. It was attended by folks from across the UK, including Jersey and at least one person from the independent state of Yorkshire.

Part of the course was devoted to the functionality of sampling techniques for different invertebrate groups. Fortunately the weather co-operated and gave us plenty of time in the field beating, sweeping, light trapping, water trapping etc. However the surreal moment of the week occurred when we climbed to the top of Glas Maol (a Munro) and vacuum sucked for invertebrates at the summit. One inveterate ‘Munro Bagger’ at the top commented that he had “never seen anything like it in all his years climbing in the mountains”, but just like buses, no sooner had we begun our return to Kindrogan did we spy another person hauling their vacuum sucker device to the top of the same mountain!

Just when you think you have seen it all!
This Grey Mountain Moth displays its incredible cryptic camouflage.

Part of our time was devoted to identifying the various invertebrates. Using Keys is a bit like doing the crossword, you have to get into the head of the author so we practiced on a few, particularly the excellent carabid Key by Luff. which duly allowed us to decipher  our various Nebrias, Carabus and Pterostichus Ground beetle species.

On our final full day we delved into the aquatic inverts of a hidden gem of a pond above Kindrogan. As expected it held plenty of Dytiscid beetles, including the mighty Dytiscus marginalis, though for most of the party the female seeking Common Hawker attracted most attention as it battered its wings against the vegetation in a bid to locate a potential mate.

This pond had never previously been sampled for its invertebrate population.

As so often on these courses we finished by wishing we had another day to do more techniques and sampling but hopefully everyone went home happy and encouraged to take their invertebrate sampling and surveying a little further. What’s more we enjoyed a superb array of Scottish invertebrates into the bargain.

The beautiful Common Goldenring Dragonfly is the commonest Anisopteran dragonfly around Kindrogan.

This is what Úna Garland, one of the course participants, had to say about the course”…just to say a great thanks for such a brilliant few days at Kindrogan. Learn’t a lot, read a lot, saw a lot, laughed a lot and perhaps talked more than a lot…so enjoyable; what a great group…


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