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.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

The Malham Sedge

I am currently doing a course on 'river flies' (caddis, mayflies and stoneflies) at FSC Malham Tarn. A really grim journey up meant that I was unable to do any fieldwork yesterday and most of today was spent in the lab looking at specimens that I brought with me. However a quick outdoor session in fairly poor weather this morning provided an opportunity to see one of the rarest species in Britain; the 'Malham Sedge'. This isn't a sedge as in the group of plants but rather the caddisfly Agrypnetes crassicornis. In Britain it is only known from Malham Tarn and I believe it was said that it was only known from eight sites worldwide. It is far from guaranteed that you will see it at Malham as the national recording scheme organiser found out when he did a programme about it on Radio 4. However the bad weather worked in our favour as there were few sheltered places for them to hide. We must have seen about 20 including two females, which are rarely seen, and I found three males and a female myself. A number of exuviae of the species were also found. It isn't exactly a looker but I was delighted to see it nevertheless.

Agrypnetes crassicornis - The Malham Sedge
Although it looks perfectly capable of flight, the adults never fly but can run across the water remarkably quickly.

I had no time for looking for anything else but did manage to stumble across half a dozen plants that I've never seen before including

Shining Pondweed Potamogeton lucens
Monk's-hood Aconitum napellus
Northern Marsh-orchid Dactylorhiza purpurella

No comments:

Post a Comment