Monday, 15 February 2016

Poor Spider

The glorious sunshine yesterday, enticed out into the fresh air, to square bash a few microfungi, so I found myself at upper Tirfounder fields for a few hours. I succeeded in finding my target species and collecting a few specimens to identify. The birdlife was a bit sparse, the highlight being a calling Cetti's Warbler, which didn't show itself.
I moved on from there to Martin's bit of Robertstown, to hopefully get the same handful of fungi there. On my way in, I saw and heard my first Willow Tit of the year. The area around Ysguborwen, now seems to be the most reliable in the mid Cynon valley for WT, though they tend to be scattered and so a bit hit and miss.
While poking around searching the underside of bramble leaves,looking for a particular rust fungus, I came across this.

Gibelulla Sp. On an unknown species of spider. Apologies for the poor quality
I still don't have a macro lens, so this was taken, hand held, down the eyepiece
of my stereo microscope. The spider's front legs can be seen just protruding. 

Mike and I sometimes come across flies killed by a similar looking fungus, when we do our Herald Moth counts, in the tunnels, but I could see that this one was growing on a spider. I collected the leaflet complete with the stricken spider, in the hope of being able to identify the fungus.
I haven't any books that cover these invertebrate parasitising fungi, but a search online, revealed that it is almost certainly a Gibelulla Sp. There are two main Gibelulla Spp in the UK, the commonest is G. pulchra and the rare one is G. leiopus. Frustratingly, I cannot find the information I need on their comparative identification, to be able to separate them, so unless I can find an expert to sent it to, it will have to remain Gibelulla Sp. You have to feel sorry for the spider, though!

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