Wednesday, 15 July 2015

A Spring in the tail

I spent today at FSC Preston Montford on an excellent cranefly course. Our tutor for the day, Pete Boardman, set a challenge for us when we got home - to find a particular springtail (Colembolla) in our gardens.

The instructions were simple. Get a tray, a stick and a handlens, beat a few bits of vegetation and look out for a purple or yellow springtail in the tray. When I got home I went outside to give this a quick try, and bingo!

Deuterosminthurus pallipes (purple form)

This is Deuterosminthurus pallipes, a common and widespread species. Looking at the NBN you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a major rarity, as they have been recorded in no more than about 30 10km squares. Similar to yesterdays barkfly, this is a symptom of chronic under recording.

This species shows two colour forms, the purple one above, and the yellow one below. On my fairly unscientific garden sample, the two forms appear to be equally abundant. The photographs do not really give this species justice, but under a handlens they are quite an attractive species.

Deuterosminthurus pallipes (yellow form)

Another treat this evening was this Grayling Hipparchia semele, basking on the sunbaked wall by the back door. This is species I regularly see in my garden at this time of year, and appears to be fairly common on the Long Mynd.

Grayling Hipparchia semele

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