By John Meiklejohn
First, the woodlouse Androniscus dentiger.
There are many records for the five more common and larger woodlice in the W.B.R.C. but the smaller species seem to have escaped detection. A. dentiger is one of these and is likely to be found in habitats associated with man, in old walls, amongst rubble, in old quarries, etc. I find them occasionally underneath my plastic dustbin! The adults are pink to a vivid rose red in colour with a broad yellow central stripe, up to 6 mm. long, with prominent, single, black ocelli and they move quickly. (see key, Worcestershire Record No.10 page 44.)
Secondly, the snail Helicigona lapicida.
This is an uncommon species with very few Worcestershire records. It has a rather flattened, distinctly keeled shell up to 19mm. wide. It is much more sharply keeled than Hygromia cinctella (See Worcestershire Record No 4, pages 5-6& No 6 page 12). Look for it in cavities in ivy-covered old walls, hollows in the base of old hawthorn trees, woods and hedgerow bases particularly on limestone.
Finally, some ants.
Not the common black, red or yellow meadow ants but species for which there are very few Worcestershire records. Harry Green found a single specimen of Myrmecina graminicola in some soil that he had collected in the Penny Hill Quarry, near Martley. This dark coloured , deeply sculptured, slow moving ant is usually found in the nest of other species such as the Yellow Meadow Ant, under stones in limestone pastures or in dry woodland.
|Harry and I have both collected
specimens of Leptothorax nylanderi. They form
small colonies under the bark of old trees.
|Finally, Lasius brunneus. This
species is listed as Nationally Scarce A but it does not
appear to be so uncommon in Worcestershire if looked for
in the right places. If you find ants under the bark of
an ancient oak tree in parkland or on a roadside verge
that rapidly disappear from view when disturbed, they
might well be Lasius brunneus.
I would be pleased to receive any ants that you think might be unusual. It is best to put them in alcohol, meths, (or gin!) and send them to me or leave them at WBRC Lower Smite Farm. The same goes for the smaller woodlice.
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