Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The can of worms is opened

It has become abundantly clear that if I want to become more proficient - no, just plain proficient - with the identification of insects, I need help. Lepidoptera, Odonata and a few select groups are already well catered for with expansive field guides, so these are not really the problem. I'm more concerned with all the other stuff! Also, I'm under no illusion as to the long journey ahead of me. I've set myself a target of getting to the point where I can look at most insects and have a fair idea as to what order it belongs to and maybe even what genus. As to how easy it will be to reach this state of proficiency, time will tell. At the moment I couldn't look at a beetle and say with any confidence as to whether or not it is a jewel, rove, ground, leaf - you get the picture. The same is true with bugs, flies, bees (and so on, and so on..)

My plan of action is to go right back to basics. With this in mind I have ordered the Royal Entomological Societies 'British Insects' book that promises an overview of ALL 558 families found in the UK. I've had a peek at the dragonfly section (which you can do by clicking here) and if all the others are like this it will give me a good grounding in what all 558 are about. It may not initially help in identifying an insect down to species, but that is not what I'm after. Just an idea of what type of insect is before me will do. Keys can come later - maybe much later.

Heyshott was certainly a catalyst for action. I've ordered a pooter, a pond-dipping net, one of those plunger tubes that you examine bees in - is there any end to all of this?


Peter Alfrey said...

I've got my pooter and a sweep net waiting for me at the parcel depot to pick up tomorrow. See you over the farm for some pootering, sweeping and dipping :-)

Andrew Cunningham said...

No, sorry mate. There is no end to it. Just bankruptcy.

Got my micro book and it is superb. Also got the RES Caddis book the same day which is equally superb.

Flora said...

That looks like a good book. I still use Chinery as my insect bible. I have a number of redundant books on various insect families which frankly baffle me in the field.
But I need to tackle grasses this year - I avoid them using the excuse that they cause my rotten hayfever in late June/July and thus I have a natural antipathy towards them.

Steve Gale said...

Peter - we can tip-toe through the Yellow Rattle together...

Andrew - thanks for the fiscal reality check!

Mel - I'm a little wary of grasses as well if I'm honest.