On 14 April I photographed Gorse Shield-bug, Piezodorus lituratus, on a gorse bush at the edge of the Scottish Heath Garden in RBGE. The following weekend I was reviewing my photographs on my laptop and noticed that in one of them there were two tiny weevils in a corner of the photograph that I had not noticed when actually taking the photos. I tentatively identified these as Gorse Weevil, Exapion ulicis. The identification was later confirmed after another, much clearer photograph was taken by David Purvis, Rhododendron photographer at RBGE, and sent to his father who is an applied entomologist.
There are very few records of Gorse Weevil in Scotland, mostly from the west and north, and none at all from the Lothians. So, as well as being a new Garden record, this discovery is also a new vice-county record for v.c. 83 Midlothian. No doubt the lack of previous records is due to under-recording on account of both the tiny size of the weevil (2-3 mm) and the fact that weevil specialists are fewer in Scotland than in England where the weevil appears to be quite widespread over much of the country. One would expect the same to be true of gorse populations in Scotland, of which there are many!
My thanks to Dr Gordon Purvis for confirming the identification and to David Purvis for allowing me to use one of the photographs illustrating this post.
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