Field Meetings Programme and Journal

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the BENHS Field Meetings Programme has been delayed. Part 1 of the British Journal of Entomology and Natural History will be distributed when the Field Meetings Programme becomes available. The Society apologises for any inconvenience caused by the delay.

New BENHS Saproxylic group

Saproxylic invertebrates are those species which are dependent on dead or decaying wood or associated fungi and microorganisms for at least part of their lifecycle. They include some of the most endangered species due to a reduction in available suitable habitat which leads to fragmentation and increasing isolation of populations. This may occur through intensive land-use such as agriculture and forestry, firewood collection and management practices that reduce deadwood for safety reasons or aesthetic tidiness. There has, however, been a recent increase in interest in this threatened group and there is now an urgent need for conservation effort.

A new special interest group was proposed by Keith Alexander at the BENHS AGM in March 2015. Following a good response, this group is now being set up. The first field meeting will be held on Sunday 20th September and Ivan Wright has kindly offered to host this event at Shotover Hill, located just to the east of Oxford. This historic site is an important habitat for a wide range of insects and around 150 saproxylic Coleoptera have so far been recorded. There is also an active ancient tree recording scheme run on the site. Further information about this field meeting will be available closer to the time.

The embryonic aims of the group are:
  • To bring saproxylic enthusiasts together;
  • To arrange field meetings, to share knowledge of techniques, etc, for finding particular species, and to help to keep site records up-to-date;
  • To develop and expand systems for site conservation assessment;
  • To raise awareness of saproxylic conservation issues.

If you would like to join this group, please email Ceri Watkins at ceri.watkins|oum.ox.ac.uk. A website/blog is planned for the group and this is currently in development. Keep an eye on the BENHS Groups page for the link when it becomes available shortly.

Useful links:
Shotover Wildlife: http://www.shotover-wildlife.org.uk/index.htm
The Ancient Tree Forum: http://www.ancienttreeforum.co.uk/

Big Nature Day 2015

The Natural History Museum London will be hosting ‘Big Nature Day’ once again this year to be held in the Darwin Centre and in marquees in the Museum’s grounds on Saturday 23rd May. BENHS will be present on the day so why not come along and meet us?

BENHS AGM and Members Day 2015

Details for the Annual General Meeting and Members Day and the AGM Buffet are now available.

12th Coleopterists Day - February 7th 2015

Details of the meeting can be found here or under indoor meetings

BENHS AGM 2015 - Advance Notice

The BENHS Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 21st March 2015 at Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Further details to follow when available.

British Soldierflies and their Allies (2nd Edition)

The society has recently published a second edition to the British Soldierflies book. Details can be found on the Publications page.

Details for the Annual Exhibition 8th November 2014

Details for this year's Annual Exhibition are now available and can be found on the Annual Exhibition page.

An introduction to woodlice, millipedes and centipedes workshop - 11 October 2014

This is an introductory workshop (led by Steve Gregory) for the identification of woodlice, millipedes and centipedes held at Dinton Pastures (10.30-16.00). After a presentation on the characters used to identify these groups, participants will have the chance to name their own material or specimens made available on the day from the BMIG reference collection housed at Dinton Pastures.

For the full list of workshops for the 2014-2015 programme see the Indoor Workshops page

Brad Ashby Memorial Lecture - 1 October 2014

Professor Jeremy Field will give the this year’s Brad Ashby Memorial Lecture entitled Extended parental care and joint nesting in a UK digger wasp. Professor Field heads a team at Sussex University which focuses on the behavioural and evolutionary ecology of social systems, using wasps and bees as model systems.

Extended parental care and joint nesting in a UK digger wasp

Nest-building Hymenoptera are unusual among insects in providing their offspring with parental care. Examples are nest-building wasps, in which offspring are provisioned by their mothers using paralysed arthropods. Ammophila pubescens is a relatively large digger wasp found on heather-dominated heathland in southern England. Females normally nest alone, digging nest burrows in sandy soil. Each burrow contains a single offspring, which is provisioned by the mother using lepidopteran caterpillars. An unusual feature of the nesting biology, more commonly associated with social wasps and bees, is that larvae are fed progressively as they grow, with more than one burrow being maintained at the same time. In my lecture, I will first discuss why A. pubescens exhibits progressive provisioning. I will then talk about on-going observations and experiments aimed at understanding why some offspring are fed by more than one adult female.

The lecture is the major part of the annual joint meeting with the London Natural History Society, this year hosted by the BENHS in Lecture Theatre 2.28 in the Royal School of Mines building at Imperial College. The entrance is in Prince Consort Road (about ten minutes walk from South Kensington underground station). The evening starts at 18.00 with the lecture beginning at 18.30. Exhibits and communications are very welcome.

Full details of other meetings can be found on the Indoor meetings page

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