Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Kentle Wood.progress

With conditions still chilly I began investigating grass tussocks. The reason was simple: the micro-climate deep in a tussock is remarkably stable with conditions in the winter frost-free and moist whereas in the summer it is cool and humid. Small creatures can survive there all the year round.
Tandonia budapestensis at Kentle Wood,
Daventry. 23 March, 2015

But the first creature I recorded was beneath a log beside a tussock and it was hardly exciting - unless you are a conchologist. A Budapest Slug, Tandonia budapestensis, can be recognised by a yellow stripe down its back.

For certain identification - and I know you will be keen to do this - turn the animal over and examine its sole. (No vicar, sole not soul!)

The pale sole has a broad, dark grey stripe down its middle. The species is very common and can be a pest in gardens but is regularly encountered in the countryside.
The so-called Fast Woodlouse, Philoscia muscorum.
\Kentle Wood, Daventry. 23 March, 2015

On to the main objective. Having loosened part of a tussock I shook it over a white cloth and out came several specimens of the Fast Woodlouse, Philoscia muscorum. It is a smart creature, easily recognised by the dark stripe down the back - plus the fact that it moves very quickly, making photography tricky.

Soon other creatures were tumbling on to the sheet, with beetles being of particular interest.

Demetrias atricapillus. Kentle Wood, Daventry.
23 March, 2015

By far the most common was the ground beetle Demetrias atricapillus. At one time there were seven of them on my sheet. Despite being so abundant it appears to have no common name.
Oulema sp.  Kentle Wood, Daventry 23 March, 2015

And this smart insect is one of the leaf beetles. It is either Oulema rufocyanea or Oulema melanopus; experts find their separation tricky and here I am a tyro. On the balance of probabilities it is the former but ideally I will find a male and dissect the genitalia; today I found only females.

A number of tiny spiders await identification together with a couple of weevils. The spiders should be straightforward, the weevils less so.

No comments:

Post a Comment