Tuesday, 27 March 2018

21.03.18: Cemetery Wanderings

Welford Road Cemetery is a little oasis of biodiversity close to the centre of Leicester. Nearly 300 species have been recorded in the grounds, but apart from occasional bioblitz events it's not clear that there has ever been any systemic recording of springtails on the site (not that that's unusual). Although the temperatures had picked up (nearly in double figures) it was very dry and I did not find any arboreal springtails on tree bark or vegetation. All finds were retrieved from under logs, and in one case, from a large fallen (and well decayed) bracket fungus which was harbouring large numbers (dozens) of Pogonognathellus longicornis:

Pogonognathellus longicornis

Mixed in with them were a few Tomocerus minor:
Tomocerus minor
Note that unlike Pogonognathellus, ant3 and ant4 do not taper in Tomocerus, but I checked the I.D. by confirming tridentate spines on the dens of the furcula (not shown here).

Moving on to the smaller species, I found one Isotoma viridis, another very common species, but never recorded at this site before:
Isotoma viridis

And one Sminthurinus aureus (ditto):
Sminthurinus aureus

And then I did something stupid. There were several of these ~1mm, dark isotomids. I completely failed to recognize these and Frans Janssens was kind enough to point out to me the blue iridescence and the pale legs = Vertagopus arboreus. In my defence, I was viewing them in artificial light where the iridescence was not obvious (unlike in daylight), and when I looked at the under the microscope, I didn't make the connection. A learning experience.

Vertagopus arboreus

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