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Windsor Forest and Windsor Great Park together constitute the single best site for rare saproxylic (dead-wood associated) beetles in the British Isles. Even so, large parts of this area are seldom visited by entomologists and exploration away from the favoured area at Highstanding Hill (currently out-of-bounds to visiting entomologists) is strongly recommended. Permission to visit the site for the purposes of entomological study must be obtained well in advance from Ted Green (permits), c/o Crown Estate Office, The Great Park, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 2HT. Permits are issued annually, normally at the beginning of the year.
Five species have only ever been found at Windsor and nowhere else in the British Isles. These are the rove beetle Tachyusida gracilis [RDB1], found in wood mould usually with the ant Lasius brunneus, a trio of click beetles: Ampedus nigerrimus [RDB1], Ampedus ruficeps [RDB1] and Lacon querceus [RDB1] (Elateridae), plus the weevil Dryophthorus corticalis [RDB1] (Curculionidae). All are found under bark or in red-rotten heartwood in senescent broadleaved trees, especially the ancient gnarled oaks Quercus in the pasture-woodland. A sixth species, the anobiid Dorcatoma ambjoerni [RDBK] (Anobiidae) is only known with certainty from Windsor, but it may also have occurred in Suffolk; this species should be looked for in fruiting bodies of the fungus Inonotus sp. in hollow trees. The rove beetle Tachinus bipustulatus [RDB1] (Staphylinidae) was formerly widespread in southern and central England, but was last recorded in the 1930s from Windsor Forest; it is associated with sap runs on trees damaged by the Goat Moth Cossus cossus, an insect which has itself greatly declined nationally. The scarab Gnorimus variabilis [RDB1] (Scarabaeidae) was formerly more widespread near London, but is now confined to Windsor Forest, where it may be found most usually as larvae in rotten oak heartwood. The Windsor area also has a number of rarities which it shares with a small number of other sites: another trio of click beetles Ampedus rufipennis [RDB2], Elater ferrugineus [RDB1] and the Violet Click Beetle Limoniscus violaceus [RDB1] (Elateridae); Gastrallus immarginatus [RDB1] and Hemicoelus nitidus [RDB I] (Anobiidae), both in Field Maple Acer campestre; Globicornis nigripes [RDB1] (Dermestidae) on flowers near old oaks in the early summer; Cicones undatus [RDB1] and Synchita separanda [RDB3] (Colydiidae) in fungus-infected dead wood; Colydium elongatum [RDB3] and Teredus cylindrus [RDB1] (Colydiidae) under bark with anobiid and scolytid bark-boring beetles; Grammoptera ustulata [RDB3] (Cerambycidae) on flowers; and Cryptocephalus querceti [RDB2] (Chrysomelidae) on ancient oaks in the summer. N.B. The Violet Click Beetle Limoniscus violaceus is protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and may not be collected.
Silwood Park also has Teredus cylindrus [RDB1] (Colydiidae) and is the type locality for the strepsipteron Halictophagus silwoodensis (Halictophagidae).
The last British record of the pselaphid Claviger longicornis [RDB1] (Pselaphidae) was from Sindlesham, near Reading, in 1945; this species should be sought in nests of the ants Lasius umbratus and L. mixtus in the summer and autumn. The gorgeous carabid Carabus auratus (Carabidae) is probably established in the Reading area, but you would be very lucky to encounter the species. The presumably introduced mycetophagid Eulagius filicornis (Mycetophagidae) may also be established near Reading University.
The last authentic record for Bruchidius olivaceus [RDB1] (Bruchidae) in the British Isles is from Cothill in 1923. The species is associated with Sainfoin Onobrychis viciifolia in calcareous grassland and adults may be sought from June to September.
The last record of Cryptocephalus primarius [RDB1] (Chrysomelidae) in the British Isles was from Cholsey in 1955. This species is associated with Common Rock-rose Helianthemum nummularium in calcareous grassland and should be sought in May and June.
The weevil Rhinoncus albicinctus [RDBK] (Curculionidae) is only known from one site in the British Isles, the shores of ?????. The species should be sought by examining floating leaves of Amphibious Bistort Polygonum amphibium var. natans, in the summer.
County recorder: vacant. Entomologists in the county can be contacted via Berkshire Network for Invertebrate Conservation, c/o .