Sunday, 16 October 2016

Willow Emeralds oviposit in Northants

Finedon Pocket Park and the Boardwalks Nature Reserve remain the only two sites where Willow Emeralds have been recorded in our County, although I am sure there are many more out there. Ovipositing has been recorded in North Bucks, so it seems logical that it has happening in Northants too. I have kept regular surveys of Finedon PP in the hope of finding more adults, but on Friday (14th), I was scanning the Willows and noticed some scarring on the branch. Willow Emeralds oviposit into the young stems of Willows and other soft stemmed trees, that overhang the water. My photos were confirmed as Willow Emerald tracts or ovipositing scars, by Adrian Parr of the BDS. Once you know what to look for, they are quite easy to recognise. The beauty of this is that you can record ovipositing when there are no adults around and it gives all winter to hunt for more.

I counted 39 scars on this branch, and each scar contains two eggs, so there is the possibility of 78 larvae and adults emerging next year. Obviously some will fail and some larvae will perish. But I am hoping good numbers will survive. Whether this is enough to start a new self-sustaining colony remains to be seen.

Please use what time you have available to hunt for these scars on trees overhanging ponds, small lakes and slow flowing rivers. Next year may very well be an exciting one for Willow Emeralds in Northants!