Saturday, 9 July 2016

Last Sunday

It's taken a while, but when Martin Bell (many thanks for the help and company, Martin) and I were trapping at an ever so slightly damp Llyn Fach, last night, I was telling him, ad nauseam, about a lacehopper and springtail I found while having a good lurk around the Merthyr tunnel western portal. I said I would probably post, so here it is. Any mistakes will be down to having only two hours sleep.

Having posted on the East Glamorgan Wildlife blog about a possible microfungus I'd found in a site, near Cwmbach in 2012 and having plans to go there to try and find some again this autumn, with a mind to collect a specimen; I decided to take a look on Sunday, to make sure the log was still there.
Getting to Werfa (the site), I quickly located it and was surprised to see some of the suspected microfungus in question, still there.
When I first found it in 2012, it was while I was photographing some caps of the lovely fungus Panellus serotinus. As I set up the tripod and lined the camera up, I noticed something small and covered in fine white spines, in the moss alongside the Panellus. I had no idea what it could be, so took several photos, later concluding that the 'spines' were some sort of fungal growth, emerging from a withered cap of the Panellus. I the photos to Mervyn Howells, who agreed that it was probably a microfungus of some sort.
I wasn't into all the microfungi stuff then, so it was left at that; but now I am and want to get to the bottom of it.
What surprised me most about finding it on Sunday, was that the Panellus wasn't fruiting at all, so whatever it was growing on; assuming it is a separate entity, was probably not a Panellus cap, which means that as well as finding out what the microfungus  is (assuming it is one) I have to work out what it is growing on.

Whatever it is, growing on something or other.

The growths are pretty distinctive.

As they develop, they can become quite dense

Has anyone any idea what the two Arachnids, wearing the latest in Lichen
haute couture are? They were around 5mm across
The arachnids are a bit clearer in this one, but they always had their backs to me.

While at Werfa, I found this Argyresthia brockeella and a Pandemis cerasana.

Argyresthia brockeella

Pandemis cerasana

This tiny toadstool was a real gem, the cap being only about the size of a match head.

I have no idea what species these slime moulds belong to.

At the tunnel portal, I was searching for more slime moulds, knowing I had little or no chance of identifying them and in the process, I came across these lovely globular springtails, on a rotting oak log. They were slow moving and at around 1.5mm across, relatively large, making them reasonably easy to photograph. Searching through the Dutch springtails site <> I identified them as the common and widespread species Allacma fusca.

Allacma fusca

Allacma fusca

Hunting around for more goodies, I found several Eyelash fungi (Scutellinia Sp) scattered about in the wetter areas. I collected a specimen or two, which I will examine when I get the chance.

Scutellinia Sp, with a fungal infection

Scutellinia Sp

Noticing a movement on a prone sallow trunk, a closer inspection revealed a type of bug I'd photographed previously (poorly) and failed to identify, so I was determined to get better photos of this one. Although it moved around a bit, it was fairly cooperative and I got my photos. As with the previous one, I mistakenlt thought I was dealing with a Lacebug and was puzzled that I couldn't find it under that group on the British Bugs site, so looking through the leafhoppers section, I came across a group called the Lacehoppers and knew I was in the right area. Luckily, the species I had found was distinctively marked and appeared to be Cixius cunicularius. I sent a photo to the national recorder for Homoptera, Alan Stewart, who confirmed the identification.

Cixius cunicularius

Until I was processing the photo, I hadn't realised there were two of them.

Cixius cunicularius is a local species, usually found in damp, shady, wooded areas, particularly near streams.

Emerging blinking, into the afternoon sunshine, I came across this handsome beast: one we are all very familiar with.

Yes, it's a horsefly!


  1. I'm not sure that is a Peltigera the micro fungus is growing on.
    Nice photo's of the lacehopper and springtails

  2. I don't think it's a Peltigera, either. I reached that conclusion as I was uploading the photos. Hopefully, I'll identify the host when I get the time to examine the specimens.