Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Earwig bum-face

Back in late September I collected some Horse Chestnut leaves which contained lots of mines created by the micro-moth Cameraria ohridella. The aim was to see what parasites emerged from the mines so I placed the leaves in a clear plastic bag. The first thing to appear in the bag was not a parasite but I had no idea what it was. In retrospect I really should have known, or at least been able to work it out, but sometimes neither brain cell is working and after searching the internet for some time I resorted to posting an image in the Pan-species Listing Facebook group, asking if anyone knew what this strange thing with an earwig's bum stuck on it's face was.

From the flood of responses it was clear that everybody apart from me knew that it was a lacewing larva. One correspondent stated that it was one of the brown lacewings as the green ones don't have the assorted detritus on their back.

The following day I went to look for a new plant for me, and this time I could identify it. There were a number of Henbane plants growing in a game cover strip in an arable field near Up Marden. I managed to squeeze records from two tetrads.

At the weekend I went out with a local fungus group to Witley Common in Surrey. It was by far the most productive fungus meeting I have been to and there was really too much going on to keep up with all the finds but I did manage to see a number of new species, a couple of which were the Redspored Dapperling Melanophyllum haematospermum with it's characteristic reddish gills

Melanophyllum haematospermum
and the Stinking Earthfan Thelephora palmata which reputedly has a 'repulsive smell of putrid garlic'. After my experience with Stinking Goosefoot earlier this year, I decided not to test this description.

Thelephora palmata
On the way home I stopped in at a heath in north Hampshire to look for the St Dabeoc's Heath Daboecia cantabrica. As a native in the British Isles it is only known from two counties in southern Ireland but it is occasionally found as an escape / introduction in southern England. Although it was only recently discovered at this site, I suspect that it may have originally got there during the second world war when there was considerable military activity on the site, with much planting of alien species around buildings, etc.

St Dabeoc's Heath

No comments:

Post a Comment