Behind the scenes at the museum

A tray of weevil specimens at the musem.  Photo: C Bell

Name: A Weevil.  Speciliast subject...?  Photo: C BellLast week took a trip to visit the Entomology department at Liverpool’s World Museum. The trip, initiated by the FSC’s Invertebrate Challenge Project three years ago, has become something of an annual event. It’s a chance for local entomologists, including members of the Shropshire Spider Group and the Shropshire Entomology Group, to examine some of the museum’s impressive invertebrate collections. Any specimen which is proving a bit tricky to identify can be compared to the museum’s type specimens, which will (hopefully!) help a positive identification to be made.

A major aim for the day was to confirm the identification of the Glyphesis cottonae specimens collected from Whixall Moss. I’m pleased to say that the identification of this rare and tiny spider was confirmed, making this the first time this G. cottonae has been recorded in Shropshire since 1992. For more details see here.Apoderus coryli.  Photo: C Bell

Another exciting spider species was also identified from the specimens collected at Whixall - Notioscopus sarcinatus. This species hasn’t been recorded in Shropshire before and is Nationally Notable and a BAP species. So great news for Natural England and their staff at Whixall Moss.

I also introduced myself to the weird and wonderful world of weevils. As a complete weevil novice, it was brilliant to have the chance to examine the weevil collections more closely and start familiarising myself with some of their anatomical features. Some of the species are incredible beautiful, looking like shiny boiled sweets with snouts and legs! There are some amazing colours and patterns visible under the microscope (as well as, it must be said, trays and trays of less charismatic specimens!) and I look forward to learning more about this group in the future.

We’re very grateful to the museum staff for making this day possible, allowing us to use their excellent facilities, and for showing us round the fascinating (and slightly gruesome) spirit collection!

Blue weevil. Photo: C Bell
Byctiscus betulae.  Photo: C Bell