Due to Covid-19 we have had to cancel courses from March to 1st August, we hope you will find an event later in the year that you can attend.
Leafhoppers, planthoppers and froghoppers are abundant insects in a wide range of habitats and are increasingly used in site quality assessment and monitoring. Over 400 species have been recorded in Britain, and much scope remains for individual naturalists to contribute to our knowledge of their distribution and ecology.
This weekend course will be aimed mainly at newcomers to this group of insects, although anyone with more experience is also welcome. Field visits will be made to local sites to collect specimens for species-level identification back in the laboratory. The course will also cover the natural history of this diverse and fascinating group of insects, as well as field collection techniques, the preservation of specimens and general recording methods.
Tutor: Alan StewartAlan Stewart is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology at the University of Sussex and has been running the national recording scheme for leafhoppers and related groups since 1987.
Please arrive at the Centre between 15:00pm and 17:00pm on the first day of your course in good time for a welcome introduction and evening meal usually 18.30pm, after which the course commences with a short evening session.
General Introduction, plan of the weekend. An introduction to leafhoppers, their biology/ecology, the major groups, literature and keys. A description of assessment/test for MSc/diploma students.
Start at 9.30am. Introduction to Identification, main characters used in identification, setting up microscopes and lights. Tutor-led identification of species. Keying at own pace. Field collecting around the field centre – rough grassland, pond margins, woodland.
Afternoon and evening of identifying materials collected, interspersed with short talks on: collecting techniques; habitats; biological recording; the national recording scheme and submitting records; mounting, labelling and dissecting specimens.
Start at 9.30am. Field trip to Llanymynech and Sweeney Fen. Collecting in grassland, woodland, quarry and fen. Lunch in the field.
Afternoon identifying material collected from the field sites.
At around 15.30pm there will be a chance to ask residual questions and a wrap up of the course. Depart at 16.00pm.
Before You Attend
What to Bring
- Entomological equipment: Weather permitting, we intend to do some collecting in the grounds of the Field Centre and on a visit to local nature reserves. Please bring any entomological collecting equipment that you think would be appropriate; the most useful would be a standard sweep net (not a butterfly net, which would not be sufficiently robust) and an aspirator (or ‘pooter’). A good supply of small collection tubes is always useful. You may find a x10 hand lens useful for examining insects in the field. Finally, you should never be without some sort of field notebook.
- For the indoor identification work, bring whatever entomological equipment you normally use: a selection of pins, cards, mounting glue and a store box for specimens would be ideal. A pair of fine soft forceps and fine mounted needles are very useful. However, don’t worry if you don’t have any of this equipment; spares will be provided that you can borrow.
- Microscopes and lights will be provided, but if you prefer to work with your own microscope, then do bring it along.
- You are welcome to bring along any specimens that you wish to work on during the course or to have your provisional identifications verified.
- General fieldwork equipment: You should bring clothing that is suitable for the weather, stout boots or shoes for walking over rough ground and a rucksack or bag to carry your equipment etc. A vacuum flask or water bottle and a sandwich box will be useful as our fieldwork is likely to coincide with lunchtime.
We will use the four main published references below. If you have copies of any of these, do bring them along. There will be some spare copies to borrow during the course.
- Wilson, M.R., Stewart, A.J.A., Biedermann, R., Nickel, H. & Niedringhaus, R. (2015) The Planthoppers and Leafhoppers of Britain and Ireland. WABV-Fründ, Scheeßel. Contains keys to all genera occurring in Britain, and an up-to-date checklist of species.
- Biedermann, R. & Niedringhaus, R. (2009) The Plant- and Leafhoppers of Germany – Identification key to all species. Wissenschaftlich Akademischer Buchvertrieb-Fründ, Scheeßel. In spite of its title, this covers nearly all the leafhopper species in Britain.
- Kunz, G., Nickel, H. & Niedringhaus, R. (2011) Fotoatlas der Zikaden Deutschlands (Photographic Atlas of the Planthoppers and Leafhoppers of Germany. Wissenschaftlich Akademischer Buchvertrieb-Fründ, Scheeßel. This photo-guide complements Biedermann & Niedringhaus (2009).
- Le Quesne, W.J. (1960-1981) Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects. Royal Entomological Society, London. 4 volumes: Parts 2a, 2b, 2c, 3. These volumes are out of print, but pdf copies can be downloaded for free from the RES website.