Collecting Cercopis vulnerata
One of the aims of the BRIGIT project is to get a better understanding of the ecology and population structure of the 18 or so froghopper and leafhopper species that could play a role in vectoring the Xylella bacteria should it arrive in the UK. One of the ways for us to do this is to examine the genetic make up of these species. The first species to reach the adult stage in the UK is the rather stunning Cercopis vulnerata. Dr Alan Stewart and I set out to collect some samples of the species this morning. We managed to dodge the rain, and Alan led us to this rather beautiful site on the outskirts of Burwash:
I was rather taken with the site anyway, but it appears that conditions here must be absolutely perfect for Cercopis,as this relatively short stretch of bank was absolutely teeming with them, including a rather impressive number of mating pairs:
We left the mating couples to their business, but managed to collect enough individuals for our study without even making a dent in the population numbers:
I must confess to being a little disappointed that it was so quick and easy to find our specimens. I'd brought my lunch in anticipation of it taking a while and quite fancied the idea of a picnic in that lovely spot, but alas, we were all done and dusted in less than an hour and heading back to the lab!