Natural Talent blog

Esmee Fairbairn acknowledgement

New experience November: sharing and learning

New experience November: sharing and learning

Hello again!

Wow, November went fast! For me this month has all been about continuing to learn and starting to share information about my project.

Now that the frosts have arrived, it’s been a much quieter time mollusc wise. The larger more noticeable species such as the Garden Snail (Cornu aspersum) have started aestivating – going dormant for the cold winter months. This is done by retracting into their shells and forming a temporary cover over the shell opening. The cover is made of mucus which dries, forming a hard epiphragm and leaving a small hole for air. Winter is … Continue reading

A Spooky Slug Filled October

A Spooky Slug Filled October

Hello again!

Incredibly rare slug behaviour

At the end of last month the knowledgeable Mark Telfer popped into Wales for a visit. He was keen to see a site for the species Testacella maugei (Atlantic Shelled Slug or Dead Man’s Finger) – which happens to be St Fagans National History Museum, part of the National Museum Wales group. Ben casually offered me the option to come along, and I jumped at the chance. A day in the field with three fellow slug enthusiasts? No chance I was turning that down! And it was definitely worth it.

Upon arriving on … Continue reading

Finito!

Finito!

Hi everyone,

I have spend an inordinate amount of time at this microscope this last month identifying specimens from Blenheim Palace and Woodwalton Fen. The good news is that I have identified everything now, except the specimens I sent off to experts for identification. These trickier ones that I couldn’t manage to identify include some red and black click beetles in the genus Ampedus. All of which are uncommon / rare deadwood associated species but all look the same. I have sent off a sample of each one to be DNA tested which is rather exciting.

I have … Continue reading

Stunning September: Tiny snails, rarities, new county records and more

Stunning September: Tiny snails, rarities, new county records and more

Hello again!

I’m back with more slug and snail goodness for you from National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

Autumn wonders: Yellow Lemon Slugs

As we rolled into September you could feel autumn starting to creep in. For me this is an exciting time! It means fungi will start fruiting, with mushrooms appearing on the forest floor. Why is this so exciting for a mollusc enthusiast? Well, one of the species that has most intrigued me is the elusive Lemon Slug (Malacolimax tenellus).

This mysterious animal only appears in the autumn and winter months, surfacing to feed on fungal fruiting … Continue reading

Microscope Mania

Microscope Mania

Since my last blog post I have spent the majority of my time really trying to get to grips with the identification of the groups of beetles that I am specialising in. For my work at Woodwalton Fen this means learning how to identify ground beetles (Family: Carabidae) and rove beetles (Staphylinidae), this includes a lot of microscope work as you have to look at intricate features on the beetles in order to identify them, such as hairs on their legs, micro-sculpture on their wing cases etc. In the case of many of the rove beetles, you also have to dissect … Continue reading