Wednesday, 23 May 2018

12.05.18 - Great Merrible

Great Merrible is one of my favourite Wildlife Trust reserves and the site is relatively under-recorded across the board (including springtails, obviously!). We visited on a very pleasant spring day, warm and dry.

I sampled under logs and here I found Tomocerus minor, Isotomurus pseudopalustris and Lepidocyrtus lignorum but the most abundant species was Dicyrtoma fusca, all var. rufescens at this site:

Dicyrtoma fusca var. rufescens

I aslo sampled from mossy Ash trunks and here I found Orchesella cincta, Pogonognathellus longicornis, Entomobrya albocincta and Entomobrya nivalis. However, this sample also produced a surprise. When I opened the pot, the lid was crawling with small, golden globbies. I assumed these would be Sminthurinus aureus but examinations showed that they were in fact Deuterosminthurus pallipes form repandus (the yellow form of this species, the purple form is just "Deuterosminthurus pallipes"):

Deuterosminthurus pallipes form repandus

These gobular springtails are noted for appearing on vegetation (including tree trunks) from spring to autumn. These individuals represent mature adults looking to perform their mating dance on a leaf. Both sexes come in both colour forms and freely interbreed. In the week of this observation we have had several reports of this species from VC55 so I guess this is their time - look out for them.

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