Tardigrades

Tardigrades have been found everywhere in Earth’s biosphere, from the highest mountaintops to the deepest sea  and from tropical rainforests to the Antarctic. There are sure to be some, somewhere, in the reserve’s ponds, going quietly about their business.

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Crane Flies

There are hundreds of species of crane fly in this country and almost all of them go by the name of daddy long legs. The differences between species can be microscopically small but we think this specimen photographed in the reserve is either a common European crane fly (Tipula paludosa) or a marsh crane fly, (T. oleracea).

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More about oak galls

This strange object is a knopper gall on an oak tree, photographed in the reserve yesterday by Ian Bushell. At this time of year, our many oak trees are sporting a whole variety of galls.

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Pesticides and soil biodiversity

 A meta-analysis of nearly 400 research studies has shown that pesticides are damaging the soil’s vitally important ecosystems. Researchers have warned that we must be more careful about considering the organisms that live in  the soil when we assess the environmental impact of pesticides. A UN report published in December 2020 found that, without urgent action to halt degradation, the future of our soils looks bleak: it takes thousands of years for new soils to form.

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Blunt-tailed Snake Millipede

The blunt-tailed snake millipede (Cylindroiulus punctatus) is tiny: it grows up to 25 mm. It is pale brown and its segments are coloured in a way that makes it look striped; it often has darker spots along each side. Its native habitat is the rotting wood and leaf litter of deciduous woodlands but it is just as happy to live in the untidier places in your garden. All millipedes feed on dead plant material, they are essential nutrient recyclers.

Both photographs are by Christophe Quintin.

More about oak galls

Yesterday’s post about oak apples prompted questions. Here is more information about some of the oak gall wasps that induce oak trees into producing such strange growths.

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Whirligig beetles

National Insect Week – Day 5

Whirligig beetles are actually a whole family (Gyrinidae) of water beetles: almost 700 different species globally, most of them very much alike and extremely difficult to tell apart. We have no idea what particular species live in the pond above the wooden bridge but all the Gyridinae share some fascinating features.

Read on for details and a short video

Who lives here?

A message and pictures from Julie, regular park-user:

Saw these little mini molehill type structures on the path next to the pond. Under the ones already disturbed there is a little hole. It’s possibly ants or something but thought I’d send them in anyway. Do you know what made them?

Read on to solve the mystery

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