|Aphodius contaminatus found in Byfield Pocket Park|
4 November, 2013
At this time of the year it can be a challenge finding insects, although leaf litter can be productive. Insects may not be abundant but small linyphiid spiders - "money spiders" as they are popularly known - can be surprisingly common, so the total for the pocket park should continue to creep upwards. Failing that I'll blow the dust off my copy of E.V.Watson's "British Mosses and Liverworts" and see what this area has to offer.
It is obvious even to the naked eye that mosses can be very attractive; under a microscope they are often beautiful and their study is, I find, very rewarding. From time to time small creatures known as tardigrades will be found in the moss. These extraordinary animals can be frozen to near absolute zero temperatures and survive. Similarly they can be freeze-dried, boiled, subjected to theoretically lethal doses of radiation, - and still survive. It is not surprising that they are the subject of intense interest in university laboratories around the globe.