Thursday, March 7, 2013

Off to Slay a Hydra

It's raining again, I couldn't really be arsed to trudge the whole common so decided to try a bit of pond-dipping. I was only out for an hour or so but it was very worthwhile...I've never seen a Hydra before so decided to target Blake's Pond (well vegetated, fishless and doesn't get much disturbance). My VERY FIRST SWEEP came up trumps with a tiny orange blob - Slender Hydra Hydra attenuata!!! How jammy is that? Within 30mins I'd found another half a dozen Slender Hydra plus (in the fourth sweep) I found a Green Hydra Hydra viridissima too!!! Crazy wee beasties, I took them home to watch under the microscope, several had smaller hydra budding from the main body.

I also identified small shrimps as the invader from America - Crangonyx pseudogracilis, an upright swimmer as opposed to the natives which tend to swim on their sides. I've a mystery beetle awaiting ID, I think it's a Haliplus. Also seen were masses of tiny stuff - water mites, cyclops, midge larvae, a few caddis larva, a mayfly nymph, seed shrimps etc etc. No IDs attempted on that lot though!

336 - Slender Hydra Hydra attenuata - Blake's Pond, Epsom Common (LIFER)
337 - Green Hydra Hydra viridissima - Blake's Pond, Epsom Common (LIFER)
338 - Crangonyx pseudogracilis - Blake's Pond, Epsom Commn (LIFER)

If the rain stops/lessens I may troop back out there again later on today. 


  1. ... a Hydra what?! I might as well give up now.


  2. NO!!!! Quitting isn't allowed ;)

    Go find a clean but weedy bit of freshwater and have a peek. I've always wanted to see a Hydra, first attempt and I hit solid gold! I reckon they MUST be pretty common, coz I just ain't that bloody good, lol! :)