Species Account for Anisodactylus poeciloides
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BAP status: UKBAP
Essex RDB: Listed
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Taxonomic group: beetles (Coleoptera) - Available county data
Essex Red Data List comment
Essex Post-1969 record/s; VC18 pre-1970 record/s; VC19 pre-1970 record/s.
A. poeciloides is a medium-sized ground beetle of about one centimetre in length. It is generally green or brassy in colouration. Although it has a number of highly distinctive anatomical features, in the field it may easily be confused with other, much commoner, ground beetles of similar colour, such as Harpalus affinis or Pterostichus cupreus. Classified in Hyman & Parsons (1992) as Rare (RDB3), A. poeciloides is the subject of a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK Biodiversity Group Tranche 2 Action Plans Volume IV ? invertebrates). Objectives of the UKBAP include the maintenance and enhancement of populations at all known sites. Proposed actions include ensuring that all occupied habitat is appropriately managed by 2008, through SSSI or agri-environment scheme management agreements, and that the habitat requirements of A. poeciloides are taken into account in relevant development policies, plans and proposals. The Atlas of British ground beetles (Luff, 1998) gives post-1969 records for A. poeciloides for only three 10-km squares, all in North Kent. However, field surveys carried out as part of the BAP process by Peter Hammond, Alex Williams and others have shown the species to be present in a wider range of localities in Kent and Essex. Recent field surveys have also shed light on the habitat needs of the species. Although reputedly a denizen of salt-marshes, A. poeciloides seems, in fact, to be more of a grassland + saltpan species (P. Hammond, pers. comm.). It is rarely found in saltmarshes proper, and apparently avoids exposure to tidal conditions. It seems to use both areas of relatively open and saline terrain and denser adjacent vegetation where the soil may not be at all saline. These conditions may be found, for example, in the vicinity of a saline or brackish pool or borrowdyke that has gently sloping edges as these dry out. Anisodactylus poeciloides was found to be present in three separate areas of the Thurrock PFA site when this was surveyed in 1996 (Plant, 1996), including the North Lagoon. Its distribution within a site is likely to be limited to small patches of relatively open ground with early succession salt-associated plants (e.g. glasswort, sea aster) that are surrounded by or adjacent to relatively dense grass or other vegetation. References