Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Springtail Onychiurus ambulans from Ross Plantation

Onychiurus ambulans 
DalgetyBay, Ross Plantation
25th Feb 2018
Two groups of c.20 on dead wood amongst leaf litter


At low magnification

PAO (post antennal organ)

Claw & empodium

One of 2 anal spines

Thorax with pseudo-ocelli

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Moths Plus

Couple of moth sessions in the garden produced Chestnut, Dotted Border and March Moth. A few other bits and bobs have been added, including Tawny Owl which seems to breed in both Donibristle and Crow Hill woods.

Dotted Border, form fusca

March Moth, male

Another discovery was the lichen Cliostomum griffithii in Crow Hill woods. It was to be expected I'd find it somewhere but I ran into it by accident in the end.

Cliostomum griffithii 

Friday, 9 February 2018

More seaside additions

Chiton Lepidochitona cinerea, which likes the underside of intertidal rocks.

And, of course, another worm, Lanice conchilega, the Sand Mason, which likes shingly bits of sand some of which is exposed at low tide.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

More worms!

Worms, worms, worms! I think I do, on balance, still think earthworms are tedious. Once you get to the seaside though, everything changes! Marine worms are a varied and very attractive lot.

An amazing brief visit to the intertidal yesterday produced a nice small handful of easy species (edible crab, overflying mute swan), but the evening session was more exciting with 4 out of 4 species being lifers.

It was interesting to put the scaleworm Harmothoe imbricata (big!) with its relative Lepidonotus squamatus. From the books it's not always apparent what different animals they are. The Harmothoe is a magnificent beast as you can see below. Psamathe fusca I thought was going to be something sort of ordinary from the ragworm stable, but once under the lens it revealed its beauty, particularly in its colours as the green and pink resolved with closer inspection.

Even the seaweed was julaceous today...

Cerebratulus fuscus

Scaleworms - for, um, scale

Psamathe fusca

Ceramium virgatum on a kelp stipe

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

More intertidal goodies

Low tide today offerred plenty of amusement. There was another porcelain crab so I think they're genuinely numerous amongst those rocks and that I probably didn't overlook them before. Be worth trying again in NT1582 to see if I can find any. My first fish of the year/square and quite unexpected under these fairly small boulders.


Edible Crab

There are other things to inspect including a ragworm, a new scaleworm and a small brittlestar which may or may not be mature. They have their own little tank as a temporary home

Diet of Worms

Sunday was a great lesson in the variability of annelid worms. My favourite was Cirriformia tentaculata, a spectacularly tentacled worm from under an intertidal rock. It would have been the scaleworm, which is awesome but which I already knew from last year.

Spirorbis spirorbis

Lepidonotus squamatus - a scale worm

Cirriformia tentaculata

Lumbricus rubellus

The Star of the day, literally, was the lovely Small Brittlestar, Amphipholis squamata, of which there were two. This is a very pretty little thing and allegedly bioluminescent. I spent some time trying to see this (naturally!) but to no avail.

And lastly on the way to the coast I wandered briefly into the woods and picked up Chaetosphaerella phaeostroma, which I expected to find somewhere. The spores are good value under the microscope.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

First month, first third round-off

With only 3 species required to the 333 yesterday lunchtime I thought I had enough in the house to complete the task, even if it meant scouring the shed for spiders. I thought it might come to that when the snow started to fall, but happily the snow vanished and ten minutes into lunchtime we were over the line.

I had intended to pick up a few species I know are in the intertidal and relatively easy, but when I got there I found the tide as high as it can possibly be (at which point NT1683 is 2/3 submerged!). Still the gathered seaweeds did at least give up Vertebrata lanosa.

I stuck with the maxim, "The easiest way to find new species is to look in new places" and walked the coastline, quickly picking up Weld and Red Dead-nettle where the grass runs out and becomes sand/rock. A happy find was more Spotted Medick, so it's at both ends of my current square.

The only species I took to the lens in the evening was the lovely Cryptosphaeria eunomia on a fallen ash twig.

shaved surface to expose interior

the asci/spores

Ellis & Ellis figure

the stroma

331 flowering plant Lamium purpureum Red Dead-nettle
332 flowering plant Reseda luteola Weld
333 alga Vertebrata lanosa A seaweed
334 moss Scleropodium purum Neat Feather-moss
335 moss Campylopus flexuosus Rusty Swan-neck Moss
336 flowering plant Trifolium repens White Clover
337 flowering plant Primula vulgaris Primrose
338 flowering plant Vicia sativa Common Vetch
339 fungus Cymadothea trifolii A fungus
340 * fungus Cryptosphaeria eunomia A fungus
341 moss Cirriphyllum piliferum Hair Pointed Feather Moss