Monday, 19 March 2018

Field Trip 17.03.18

The weather was so bad at the weekend that I didn't venture too far afield. By Saturday afternoon I had cabin fever and had to get out, so we walked over to the local churchyard to look for springtails. I'd had some quite good finds here in autumn looking under fallen leaves, such as Sminthurinus aureus:
Sminthurinus aureus

On Saturday things were much more hard going. For 20 minutes we couldn't find any springtails at all. I put this down to sub-zero temperatures and the very low humidity. Based on this, I decided that the best bet was to look for arboreal species which tend to be a bit more resistant to low humidity. This worked and we found some springtails by beating Ivy. There were lots of Orchesella cincta and quite a few Entomobrya. I was particularly interested in these as I am still looking for Entomobrya nivalis without success - even though it is regarded as "common" and has been recorded in the area.

Entomobrya species are identified by dorsal pigmentation patterns but by this point it was starting to snow again, so we beat a hasty retreat and took specimens home for identification (getting back just before a complete whiteout descended). Not surprisingly, most of the specimens were Entomobrya intermedia, but there was one juvenile I wasn't sure about as it was without the bottom of the "broken U" with the corners missing which signifies E. intermedia:

Entomobrya intermedia

However, this turns out to be merely a juvenile E. intermedia, so the quest for Entomobrya nivalis continues!

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