Coelioxys conoidea- Cavenham Heath NR

Distribution
Widespread in southern England from the south coast north to Somerset and Norfolk. In Wales known from Glamorgan, Pembroke, Carmarthen and Merioneth. According to Felton (in Hawksworth, 1974), it may be a relatively recent arrival in Wales, having been first found there, in Glamorgan, in 1972 (although the record from Merioneth is based on a specimen collected in 1919 and now in Coventry Museum (S J Falk, pers. com.)). Its absence prior to that date was remarked upon by Hallett (1928). The first record of the species from Kent was in 1952 (Leclerq, 1968). Also recorded from the Channel Islands. Although the host of this cleptoparasite occurs in southern Ireland, there are no records of C. conoidea from that country. Unlike most British Coelioxys, this species is occasionally locally common where found, especially on the coast. The species occurs throughout much of Europe and the Middle East, from Fennoscandia east to at least Iran and Afghanistan.
Status (in Britain only)
This bee is not regarded as being scarce or threatened.
Habitat
Coastal dunes and landslips, inland commons and heaths and, more rarely, chalk grassland.
Flight period
Univoltine; mid June to late August.
Nesting biology
A cleptoparasite of the leafcutter bee Megachile maritima (Smith 1876; Gardner 1901; Chambers 1949).
Flowers visited
Sea-lavender (Limonium species), common mallow (Malva sylvestris), sea rocket (Cakile maritima), bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.), sea-holly (Eryngium maritimum), sea bindweed (Calystegia soldanella), thyme (Thymus species), spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare), knapweeds (Centaurea species) and ragwort (Senecio sp.).
Parasites
No information available.

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Byrrhus pilula – Cavenham heath NR

This is an all brown pill beetle with inconspicuous rows of dark and light brown markings on the elytra. The name Pill Beetle stems from the ability to retract all appendages into grooves underneath the body, feigning death in this manner and resembling a rabbit dropping
Habitat
They live among grasses and mosses and are very slow moving.
When to see it
All year round.
Life History
Believed to feed on mosses, as larvae and adults.
UK Status
Widespread in Britain, but probably overlooked at times.

Megatoma undata – Cavenham Heath

4 to 6 mm. Black with distinctive white markings on the pronotum and elytra. Freshly emerged specimens are initially brown.
Habitat
The typical habitat of the adults is around dead wood although they may also be found on flowers e.g. Crataegus or Malus in the spring and early summer when they may be pollen feeders.
When to see it
April and May
UK Status
In Britain this species is mainly found south of the Humber.

Megatoma undata

Megatoma undata

Melitta haemorrhoidalis – Cavenham Heath NR

Another new bee for me.

Distribution
Widely distributed in southern England, especially on chalky and limestone soils. The species has also been recorded from Wales and the Isle of Man. It is very rare in northern England and Scotland. The species was rediscovered at Grange-over-Sands, Westmorland, in July 1996 after an absence of records from that county of about fifty years (N Robinson, pers. comm.). A female M. haemorrhoidalis was collected at Cheswick Dunes, Northumberland, on 2nd August 1997 by M E Archer, and this seems to be the first record of the species from north-east England. Confirmed Scottish records are from Fifeshire in 1900 and East Perthshire before 1900. There are no records of this bee from Ireland or the Channel Islands. In Europe, the range extends from Fennoscandia south to Spain, and eastwards to Greece.
Status (in Britain only)
Not listed in Shirt (1987) or Falk (1991). The current distribution map shows that its status should be revised.
Habitat
Mainly calcareous grassland and open rides in broad-leaved woodland on chalk.
Flight period
Univoltine; mid July to late August (occasionally September).
Nesting biology
The nest burrows are excavated in the soil. A small aggregation of burrows in a sandy hedge bank was observed in the Isle of Man (C O’Toole, pers. comm.).
Flowers visited
Clustered bellflower (Campanula glomerata), nettle-leaved bellflower (C. trachelium), harebell (C. rotundifolia) and meadow crane’s-bill (Geranium pratense). The bellflowers listed here are probably pollen sources, but the crane’s-bill is likely to have been only a nectar source. Males have been observed visiting musk-mallow (Malva moschata), round-headed rampion (Phyteuma orbiculare) and hemp-agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum). On overcast days specimens can sometimes be found sheltering in bellflowers (occasionally two bees in a flower).
Parasites
None reported from Britain, though on the Continent Nomada flavopicta may be a cleptoparasite of it (Tengö & Bergstrom, 1976) and this association may exist in Britain.