Friday, 24 January 2020


A few days ago - 8 January to be precise - I mentioned in my blog that I found some woodlice under a stone in Byfield Pocket Park.

Any road, a couple of days ago I visited the aforementioned pocket park with a clump of Scots Pine as my target. My plan was a simple one: I intended to gather a few pine cones from beneath the trees and split them open in search of true bugs (Hemiptera) and, with a bit of luck, a false-scorpion.

A clump of Scots Pine stands at one entrance to Byfield Pocket Park.
22 January, 2020
In the event I found neither. All that emerged from the de-scaled cones were a couple of springtails and some very young woodlice. I was disappointed. Making a mental note of the fact that the woodlice were all specimens of the very common Philoscia muscorum I gathered up the debris and scattered it beneath the Garrya at the end of our back garden.

When, I wondered, had I first recorded this woodlouse - known as the Fast Woodlouse - from the pocket park? I checked my records and was surprised to find that I had never recorded any woodlice from Byfield Pocket Park!

With this in mind I re-examined a photograph I had taken on 8 January. Sure enough. It clearly showed Porcellio scaber and Oniscus asellus. So, along with the Philoscia muscorum I was able to add these three crustaceans (woodlice are related to crabs and prawns) to the list for the site. To have failed to record these creatures was very careless. But the site total, even with these additions, is still only a paltry 190. A phrase vividly  remembered from my school reports comes to mind: Tony must try harder!
Oniscus asellus, with pale edges to their rather shiny carapace, surround
 a few darker grey Porcellio scaber.  Byfield Pocket Park,  8 January, 2020
Incidentally, mention of the Garrya - Garrya elliptica to be precise - reminded me that the catkins on this shrub have now reached their maximum length. Out of interest I took a specimen catkin and measured it with my Mickey Mouse ruler: 250 millimetres. Size matters!
The catkins on our Garrya elliptica have now attained a length of
250 millimetres. 24 January, 2020

No comments:

Post a Comment