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REMARKABLE: Rare species previously unseen in county found in Radlett

 Published on: 8th October 2021   |   By: Jake Levison   |   Category: Uncategorized

An incredibly rare species never before found in Hertfordshire was spotted in Radlett this summer.

The Hertfordshire Natural History Society (HNHS) recently revealed that county ant recorder, Phil Attewell, photographed and videoed what he thought was a female Giant Woodwasp Urocerus gigas, in Radlett woodland during the summer.

But, having viewed the images and footage, Sawfly UK has now identified it as the much rarer yellow-headed woodwasp, also known as urocerus augur.

The HNHS said there have been few British records for the species and none previously from Hertfordshire.

Its distinguishing characters compared with giant woodwasp include a greater extent of yellow colouring on the head, and black markings on the legs.

Previous records have been associated with imported timber, but the Radlett specimen was on mature Scots Pine in a woodland belt near arable fields.

Phil’s video shows it ovipositing on Scots pine, thought to provide the first national evidence of breeding.

Phil told the HNHS: “The only other records shown on the National Biodiversity Network Atlas are in east Norfolk and north Lincolnshire.

“It was a very impressive insect, but at the time I had no idea it was such a rarely recorded one. A pleasant surprise for what was a casual ramble in local countryside!”

Photo credit: Phil Attewell

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