Spiky snipefly

A record recently arrived on iRecord that stood out from the rest:

Larva of Atrichops crassipes

Photo by John St Pierre via iRecord

This rather odd-looking creature is the larva of the Least Water-snipefly, Atrichops crassipes. It is a rare species, or at least rarely recorded, but the above is just one of several records made in recent years by John St Pierre in East Sussex. These are the first records I'm aware of for that county since 1983.

John found them during sampling for freshwater invertebrates as part of his work with the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust. John says:

The ones we have found are all in the catchment of the Sussex River Ouse. We found one in the main river in 2013, the rest being from tributaries (2013 seemed to be a particularly good year for them). In all cases the substrate was clay/gravel mostly in riffle sections. They were captured using the standard 3 minute kick sample in the BMWP protocol.

It is excellent to get some new records for this species, and I wonder whether it could be found more widely by others carrying out freshwater sampling - if that's something you're involved with please look out for it!

A photo of the adult fly can be seen here, and below is the NBN distribution map. (The Scottish records are intriguing and warrant further investigation.)

NBN Gateway map for Atrichops crassipes