Tuesday, February 28, 2017

NT1582, Dalgety Bay: End of February roundup

Today saw the "Big Five" of woodlice completed (Oniscus asellus, Porcellio scaber, Philoscia muscorum, Trichoniscus pusillus and Armadillidium vulgare) along with the other very common Sea Slater Ligia oceanica. This was helped on my the arrival of the FSC woodlice key and hopefully I may add another species through the year though a browse through the distribution of species suggests I shouldn't hope for too much - woodlice seem to mostly be southern softies!

Most groups have been recorded more or less in line with expectations, though Staphylinidae have done well comparatively. If any groups have been surprising they've been Collembola and Molluscs. Collembola is really only surprising because I didn't set out to pay that much attention to them - it just sort of happened. No doubt I'll add a few more now I'm into the swing with them. Molluscs of course benefitted hugely from working the seashore, though my land mollusc list has grown somewhat too and I'm developing an affinity for slugs. I expect to add a few more through the year and I haven't even recorded Arion ater yet!

Another group I'm expanding my awareness of is the marine algae, and the target for that is growing, aided by arrival of new literature.

Species of the month in January was easily the springtail Anurida denisi. Species of the month for February, though it isn't the most scarce, has to be reprazentin for Molluscs and is the Prickly Snail Acanthinula aculeata

Below the high water mark I loved seeing this Willy Wonka Snail (flat periwinkle), which I don't think I ever got round to posting on here

So the numbers at the end of February (anything I do tonight will be lumped into March)

Class Jan Feb target %
Algae 8 13 22 59
Lichens 37 41 60 68
Fungi 28 31 100 31
Vert - Birds 38 50 110 45
Vert - Other 2 4 10 40
Lepidoptera 1 2 110 02
Diptera 4 7 100 07
Arachnida 5 13 55 24
Coleoptera 6 17 100 17
Mollusc 9 24 32 75
Invert - Other 29 43 135 32
Plants - Vascular 47 63 124 51
Plants - Bryo 22 29 45 64

236 337 1003 33

The only groups I've recorded less than 1/6th of are Diptera and Lepidoptera, but no surprise there really.It won't be long, though, before it all kicks off.

Monday, February 27, 2017

NT1582, Dalgety Bay: Staph meeting

Reached 10 Staphylinidae on Saturday as I creep towards the one third mark. Throwing leaf litter into a white tray has been a lot of fun and makes me think I want a bigger and more robust white tray. When I ordered it a couple of weeks back I though it was a bit indulgent to pay for a tray but now I'm thinking of buying an upgrade!

Another thing maybe worth mentioning was that i found another two spiny snails - one under a rock in a different place and one from shaking leaf litter in another place again. There must be a decent population here.

Anyway, quickie update just to keep the numbers updated on the board

Sepedophilus nigripennis

Othius punctulatus

Stenus impressus

The numbers bit:
326 Neobisium carcinoides Common Neobisid
327 Vitrina pellucida Pellucid Glass Snail
328 Stenus impressus A rove beetle
329 Sepedophilus nigripennis A rove beetle
330 Derocerus reticulatum Netted Field Slug
331 Lepthyphantes zimmermanni A Linyphiid spider
332 Othius punctulatus A rove beetle

Friday, February 24, 2017

Skye - New for Scotland!

I was asked to work this evening, so took the afternoon off in lieu. Pretty wet and murky outside but with a couple of hours to kill I wandered down to Uig Woods in search of more slugs to photograph. Let's face it, wet weather and slugs kinda go hand in hand, right?
I began by lifting rocks in contact with the woodland floor, not too many slugs actually (guess they're all out gallavanting elsewhere in the wet?) but I did find a strikingly patterned flatworm, one I knew I hadn't seen before. Thanks to endless internet searching for obscure creatures I thought I recognised it as the 'Many-eyed Flatworm', discovered new to science near Cambridge a few years ago. Flippin 'eck, this could be my most significant find on Skye yet! I took lots of pics through my 10x handlens, which just happened to have a few raindrops on it hence the resulting shite pics -
The last image is a mega-crop in an attempt to show the eye configuration. Meh, they're all pants shots but I whacked them on Facebook anyway. Brian Eversham (a flatworm expert and the guy who found the initial individual near Cambridge!) reckons it looks good for his species. Christian Owen thinks it looks good too, he found a couple in South Wales.  So there you have it, I've discovered the awesome Marionfyfea adventor new to Scotland and by far the northernmost individual ever discovered IN THE WORLD!!!! :) There's a really detailed account of the species in this paper published just three months ago, it lists all of the known sightings IN THE WORLD and there really aren't many!
I've emailed a chap at the Terrestrial Flatworm Recording Scheme asking if he wants the specimen. No reply yet. I don't have any pure ethanol laying about so I purchased a shot of 61% proof whisky from the bar downstairs, that'll have to do as preservative! I now have two glass tubes worth of the stuff sitting on my desk. No danger of me necking it, I bloody hate the stuff.

So as if yesterday's Kontikia andersoni and Microplana terrestris combined with today's Marionfyfea adventor wasn't already enough flatworm excitement to keep me grinning, I lifted a nearby rock and found this
Microplana scharffi - a native species and only about the 3rd or 4th one of these I've ever seen
 Cor blimey, it's flatworm central up here! I'll soon be challenging Dave Fenwick's back garden in Cornwall for having the most species of flatworm recorded from a single site! Ok, maybe not quite that many...probably. Just have to see what else I can uncover over the coming months. 

Of the slugs I didn't find anything different or obtain any new pics. In fact the only thing I took a photo of was this Copse Snail Arianta arbustorum. Ocys harpaloides, a smallish Carabid, was found underneath a stone, new for the site and my yearlist. 

All of which has nudged me just slightly further towards the 400 species barrier

359 - Marionfyfea adventor (flatworm) - Lifer
360 - Microplana scharfii (flatworm)
361 - Ocys harpaloides (beetle)
362 - Mistle Thrush (bird)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Skye - Slugging it Out

Spent most of the afternoon out and about looking for slugs and snails to photograph. I've started a new Gallery on my blog entitled Molluscs and figured I better try for a few half-decent pics. No such luck, they're still shite but better than nothing! Here's a couple for you

Deroceras reticulatum - common in NG3963
Possibly Arion hortensis, which would be new for Skye
Naturally I found other stuff hiding away beneath stones and half-buried plastic sheeting, I also found a couple of terrestrial flatworms and a land nemertine.

Kontikia andersoni (left) and Microplana terrestris (right)
Despite being such a gaudy looking creature, Kontikia andersoni is doubtless under-recorded in Britain, in fact it seems that this may be the first Scottish record! This one was about a centimetre long, the Microplana terrestris elongated itself to maybe 2cm in length which I've never seen them do before. I did wonder if it was actually Rhynchodemus sylvaticus, but the movements and eye placement were wrong. 

Note the trail of yellow stuff in front of it.....?
I found this land nemertine on a bit of moss-covered debris in long grass, a tiny wee thing. I wasn't sure if it was another flatworm or not and then it did something quite incredible - the long yellow thing lashed out from its head, blindly waved and flickered around a few times (imagine a hummingbird's tongue rapidly probing a deep flowerhead!) and seemed to drop off! What the..??? It was all so fast it was amazing, I'm lucky to have been watching at that precise instant. I tried to pot the tiny beast but incredibly it just fell to pieces in a sloppy mess! Buggered if I know what's going on, but all that was left were gobbets of slimy body pieces that I wiped off on my jeans! If anybody knows the species I'd be happy to hear your thoughts. I'm guessing it's an Argonemertes sp but that's as far as I can get. At a guess. 

Additions to the NG3963 tally for 2017 are

352 - Arion hortensis (slug) *to be confirmed*
353 - Arion circumscriptus silvaticus (slug)
354 - Arion intermedius (slug)
355 - Petrobius maritimus (bristletail)
356 - Kontikia andersoni (terrestrial flatworm)
357 - Cleavers (plant)
358 - Pogonognathellus longicornis (springtail)

Aberbargoed - Griag

Had a stint at an old bottle tip earlier...didn't stay long as it was a tad windy lol.
Its a very good site for Androniscus dentiger (Rosy Woodlouse) and Haplopthalmus danicus, these being the last two woodlice that i know i can find in this square. Several Rosy found and a few Haplopthalmus mengii, none H. danicus to be seen. 
Tip sits above scree

245..Hofmannophila pseudospretella (Moth)

246..Nebria brevicolis (Beetle)

247..Anthus pratensis – Meadow Pipit

248..Pterostichus madidus (Beetle)

249..Trichoniscus pygmaeus (Woodlouse)

250..Androniscus dentiger (Woodlouse)
Androniscus dentiger

251..Pterostichus niger (Beetle)

252..Lithobius microps (Centipede)

253..Sonchus oleraceus – Smooth Thistle

254..Lonicera periclymenum – Honeysuckle

255..Senecio vulgaris – Groundsel

256..Cylindroiulus britannicus (Millipede)
Cylindroiulus britannicus

257..Coelotes atropos (Spider)

258..Chamaenerion angustifolium – Rosebay Willowherb

259..Cirsium arvense – Creeping Thistle

260..Ranunculus acris – Meadow Buttercup

261..Red Kite

262..Rumex acetosa – Common Sorrel

263..Cardamine flexuosa – Wavy Bittercress

264..Anthriscus sylvestris – Cow Parsley

265..Betula pendula – Silver Birch

266..Leistus rufomarginatus (Beetle)
Leistus rufomarginatus

267..Tremella mesenterica (Fungi)
Tremella mesenterica

268..Aegopinella pura (Snail)
Aegopinella pura with Lithobius microps photo-bombing

269..Dicyrtomina saundersi (Springtail)

270..Lithobius forficatus (Centipede)

271..Stellaria media – Common Chickweed

272..Lapsana communis – Nipplewort
Puccinia lapsanae on Nipplewort

273..Puccinia lapsanae (Fungi)

Some i'm not even attempting to identify. 

Gordian worm?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Skye - Fifty Shades of Green

Quick blast into the square today between rainbursts. The tide was mostly in but I had a look across the top of the beach anyway. I could see a long line of yucky white gunk along the water's edge and headed off to investigate. Nothing to worry about, it was just spume. The only object that caught my attention on the beach was this rather lovely razor shell covered in the calcified tubes of Spirobranchus triqueter. Despite dunking them into the sea I failed to see any sign of the worms inside, hence they aren't added to my tally (yet...)

Triangular in cross-section with a sharp 'spike' above the mouth of the tube
Leaving the beach I headed into the woods and discovered a large pile of rocks behind the community hall car park. I had a search under several rocks finding plenty of slugs including a single Worm Slug Boettgerilla pallens and several Budapest Slugs Tandonia budapestensis complete with accompanying 'slug mites' scurrying across them. It has recently been discovered that the mites on slugs are a different species than was first thought. In Britain (and across much of Europe) they have proved to be Riccardoella oudemansi and not Riccardoella limacum as was assumed. According to the brilliant FSC Slugs of Britain & Ireland Budapest Slugs have not been recorded from northern Skye before, in fact there's just one dot on the map for Skye as a whole. But it is a successfully expanding species (much to the dismay of farmers and gardeners, this really is a pest species!) so I'm not at all surprised to find them in Uig. Worm Slug was only discovered on Skye in the early 2000s (and only discovered in Britain in 1972) so it's done well to move this far in little over 40 years. There was also a single Tramp Slug Deroceras invadens beneath the stones. 
This is the pile of rocks in question. Doubtless I shall come here again (and again...and again...)
As you can see, the woodland floor is starting to burst into life with thousands upon thousands of seedlings thrusting through. Give it another month and I'll be able to start identifying them! Actually I can do a few, even at this stage. Ground Elder is most evident in the above image, but there's a Dandelion and some Cow Parsley in there too. 

Common Nettle, a nice easy one! Here amongst Cow Parsley and Ground-ivy
Big clump of Montbretia growing by the woodland stream
A few Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage are in flower already
Naturalised (or maybe fully wild?) Daffodil clump

Seeing as it had been raining and the lichens were looking at their best, I visited the Lobaria virens tree. Yep, no getting away from it, this looks pretty damn amazing when wet! This is without flash or image manipulation
Lobaria virens - translates literally as "the Green Lobaria"
 And with that I've run out of greens. I didn't find any lifers out there today, or at least none that I could identify, but it was good just to get out into the woods despite the buffeting wind and ever present threat of a drenching.
347 - Kindbergia praelonga (moss)
348 - Douglas Fir (plant - naturalised seedlings)
349 - Tadonia budapestensis - Budapest Slug (mollusc)
350 - Deroceras invadens - Tramp Slug (mollusc)
351 -  Riccardoella oudemansi - Slug Mite (arachnid)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A few more.

A few from yesterday.

234..Quedius picipes (Beetle)
235..Anthobium unicolor (Beetle)
236..Bryum capillare (Moss)
237..Choleva agilis (Beetle)
Choleva agilis
238..Psychoides filicivora (Moth). Found this one on the ceiling of my bedroom

These where from tonight, had a quick stop off at some walls and a small quarry at the bottom end of my village.

239..Forficula auricularia (Earwig)
240..Armadillidium vulgare (Woodlouse)
241..Arion iratii (Slug)
Arion iratii by torch

Another Arion iratii by torch

242..Tachypodoiulus niger (Millipede)
243..Balea sarsii (Snail)
Balea sarsii from Chapel wall

244..Armadillidium depressum (Woodlouse)

Also saw this Oniscus asellus, not seen this color form before. 
Oniscus asellus

Total so far...
Sprintails etc.......9
Annelid Worms...5


Dalgety Bay, NT1582: All the small things

Rummaging around in the woods yesterday I managed to pick up a bit of this and that and was on my way back to the car when I had a thought that some woodlice I saw may not have been O.asellus. It's not a group I have a lot of familiarity with outside a handful of species so I turned back to take a second look.

Turned out this was fortunate as I noticed a small spiky ball on the edge of the stone I turned to pick some specimens from. A quick handlens examination came up trumps with a Spiny Snail (Acanthinula aculeata) and alongside it another small snail. Double the size of the first but still pretty tiny - Lauria cylindracea. Still on the same small stone the size wars continued as there was also Punctum pygmaeum. A lovely trio of tiny snails, like some kind of Mollusc nouvelle cuisine. All went into the smallest pot with oodles of space to spare.

And the numbers bit:

Class Jan Feb
Verts 40 54
Inverts 54 89
Plants 69 88
Fungi 65 71
Algae 8 13
Total 236 315

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Brithdir Bank

Gave this area a look over today. Most of the large trees have been cleared by Network Rail, log piles every where...out of photo. Picked up several beetles (which made my day as i was beginning to think Beetles had all but vanished from my square), some Pseudo's and a few other things. Taking me to 233 with still a few things to check through...

198..Crocosmia x crocosmifolia (Monbretia)
199..Geum urbanum – Herb Bennet
200..Pholcus phalangioides (Spider)
201..Eiseniella tetraedra (Earthworm)
202..Stigmatogaster subterranea (Centipede)
203..Urtica dioica - Nettle
204..Microplana scharffi (Flatworm)
205..Tomocerus minor (Springtail)
206..Sabacon viscayanum subsp ramblaianum (Harvestman)
207..Trochila ilicina (Fungi)
Trochila ilicina - Holly Speckle
208..Bembidion lampros (Beetle)
209..Hylebainosoma nontronensis (Millipede)
Hylebainosoma nontronensis
210..Hyacinthoides non-scripta – Bluebell
211..Cepaea nemoralis (Snail)
212..Schizophyllum commune (Fungi)
Schizophyllum commune
213..Neobulgaria pura (Fungi)
214..Dicyrtoma fusca (Springtail)
215..Anacaena globulus (Beetle)
216..Cartodere nodifer (Beetle)
217..Lachnum virgineum (Fungi)
218..Tychus niger (Beetle)
219..Megalothorax minimus (Springtail)
220..Bembidion tetracolum (Beetle)
221..Neobisium carcinoides (Pseudoscorpion)
222..Roncus lubricus (Pseudoscorpion)
Roncus lubricus (Pseudoscorpion)
223..Hypoxylon fuscum (Fungi)
224..Neanura muscorum (Springtail)
225..Sitta europaea – Nuthatch
226..Buteo buteo – Buzzard
227..Strigamia crassipes (Centipede)
Strigamia crassipes
228..Ocys harpaloides (Beetle)
229..Medon brunneus (Beetle)
230..Metzgeria furcata (Liverwort)
231..Lophocolea bidentata (Liverwort)
Lophocolea bidentata and Rhizomnium punctatum
232..Rhizomnium punctatum (Moss)
233..Platynus assimilis (Beetle)
Platynus assimilis       

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bargoed Edgeland

Bargoed Edgeland
Gave myself an extra long dinner break and decided to visit a rough bit of ground known for its Ghost slug population. The site didn't disappoint, as it produced a Ghosty almost immediately. It didn't look to be in the best of shapes and it wouldn't extend.

Ghost Slug
The scarce Millipede Propolydesmus testaceus was seen in its usual high numbers, alongside another scarce Millipede Brachychaeteuma melanops.
Brachychaeteuma melanops
Further in was some hibernating Herald moths, counted 41 in all, a Cryptopa parisi and several Liverworts that covered much of the ground and walls...mostly Lunularia cruciata, Preissia quadrata and Pellia endiviifolia.

Herald Moths

Site of Hibernating Herald Moths
Cryptops parisi
Preissia quadrata
Lunularia cruciata
Cutting thought the fence to get onto the river produced a Goldcrest hunting through the Buddleja. Some fresh Otter spraint seen along the sewer pipe running along the river...so there is one about.

Rhymney River

Otter Spraint
Scanning the large high walls for signs of life produced another Ghost slug. First time I've ever come across one out in the open like this, especially climbing? Not sure if this has been documented before?
Ghost Slug
Ghost Slug climbing wall

An Honey Bee sat out on a stone on upper banks of the river. While a Water Cricket and Amphibious Leech were found.
Water Cricket
Amphibious Leech

Honey Bee

173..Herring gull

174..Glomeris marginata (Millipede)

175..Boettgerilla pallens (Slug)

176..Propolydesmus testaceus (Millipede)

177..Selenochlamys ysbryda (Slug)

178..Brachychaeteuma melanops (Millipede)

179..Cryptops parisi (Centipede)

180..Hypericum androsaemum – Tutsan

181..Caltha palustris – Marsh Marigold


183..Allolobophora chlorotica (Earthworm)

184..Salmo trutta – Brown Trout

185..Mimulus guttatus – Monkey Flower

186..Scrophularia auriculata – Water Figwort

187..Apis mellifera – Honey Bee

188..Velia caprai – Water Cricket

189..Scoliopteryx libatrix – The Herald (Moth)

190..Lunularia cruciata (Lichen)

191..Rubus tricolour - Creeping Chinese Bramble

192..Rubus armeniacus - Himalayan blackberry

193..Lemna minor – Common Duckweed

194..Preissia quadrata (Liverwort)

195..Pellia endiviifolia – (Liverwort)

196..Plagiomnium undulatum – Moss

197..Trocheta subviridis (Leech)