Friday, 14 December 2018

All the gear, no idea...

I've recently bought myself a few rather nice, shiny natural history books, aimed at plugging a couple of gaps in my literature library. And anyway, sometimes it's good to splash out and treat yourself. 

Firstly, I'm very pleased to now being in a strong position relating to all things hopperish

I already have this book which deals with the handful of British hoppers NOT covered by these German works. To be fair it's pretty pointless without these Big Boys, but I didn't realise that at the time. Hence pennies were spent. Quite a few pennies, truth be told. Anyway, someone throw me a hopper, I bloody dare ya! 

If I really wanted to go the whole hog, including buying several more texts in foreign languages, everything I'd ever need hopper-related can be found on this page. And then there's all of those lovely looking Danish and French language texts on the heteropterans....(stop me now, please!)

I've always been fascinated by the diversity of weirdness that lives in the sea. Hence my next financial splurge-out was to buy this entire series in one hit

Taxonomic upheavals have recently turned the world of marine gastropods on it's head, thankfully these three books are bang up to date, hence I'm now in a very good position to ID any bastard snail I find down on the beach. Not that I tend to spend much time below the high water mark nowadays, but if I did.....

This cost me all of 89 pence. Plus £35 p+p. Haha no, the whole thing came to just over £3, I can live with that. Unfortunately it isn't a key, which is what I was really hoping for. Fantastic reading though, I've learned shedloads about how a nemertean goes about its daily life. They have incredible powers of regeneration (including the ability to grow an entire new brain if the original is somehow lost!) and a proboscis that, in some instances, is armed with tiny teeth that latch onto a prey item, lacerate the surface, then dissolve away through the wounds releasing toxins that paralyse the victim before chemically breaking down the internal organs, ready to be shlurped up by the worm. Nemerteans are mega cool! 

So I'm a little bit ashamed to admit that I didn't already have Duff's beetle book. Long overdue. The Ich Wasp book has only just been published, I was in contact with Gavin Broad (main author) earlier this year and managed to successfully key through a few Ophions. This new book is amazing, I can hardly wait to collect some more specimens and see how far I get with them. Nobody else is looking at Ichs up here, or if they are they're not doing anything further with them. 

But sometimes it's all too easy to get carried away with oneself. I gleefully ordered the FSC's Earthworm key. Guess what...

Fooksakes man! 
So if anybody out there would like a copy, coz I now appear to have a spare...

In other news, there are now three Niptus (Golden Spider Beetles) wandering around in my downstairs loo. If you'd like to tick it off whilst picking up an unwanted earthworm key, just let me know and I'll make sure I'm in for you. 

For no good reason at all, tonight I give you a classic (in my eyes) from The Prodigy

I have to admit, I find this particular album hard going. Masterful tracks interspersed with pure dross, but here's an absolute belter for you, possibly the best track on the album, in fact. 


  1. Well, you've certainly got some reading material stocked up, let's hope you still find time to go out and look for what's in those books!
    Being a total novice I'm still working through Harrap's Wild Flowers as recommended by Steve Gale some time ago, here's hoping I can tell a dandelion from a daisy next year ;)

  2. Question is, which of the over 240 species of dandelion known from Britain will it be? You'll need Dudman's BSBI key to narrow it down. I have a copy, have had for several years. Never used it yet (obviously...), yours for £20 ;)

  3. Brilliant, just brilliant, but not sure a copy of an earthworm ID book is reason enough to cross to Skye next year!

  4. Cracking collection of new reading. Wasp books will be added to my library during 2019 fo' shizzle. My bugs list crept up a bit this year. Is that book as lovely as it seems? Earthworms do my head in - have you seen earthworm holders? Hilarious! (but real). I actively avoid collecting them. Bit embarassing, really.

  5. I'd like to grow a new brain please. Does your book have full instructions?
    I thought I had the earthworm book but can't find it. It would be very silly to end up with two copies, however.

    1. Good buddy, if you want it you can have it (the worm book, I mean - not a newly grown brain). As a compromise I could offer you the front half of a nemertean and see how you get on?