Sunday, 4 December 2016

ANOTHER First for Skye

Just been working my way through a few specimens I collected from Uig Woods on 2nd December. I found a Geophilomorph centipede under a stone and quickly popped it into a pot. Tonight I whacked it under the microscope. I have to admit that I rather enjoy keying myriapods (no, that's not a wanton act of vandalism...) and this one ran straight through the couplets to Geophilus insculptus with its 51 pairs of legs, extra wide fossae on the sternites and random floating pore on the coxa of the last leg (SEE what fun centipedes are, you SEEEE !!!) 

Better still, I've never seen Geophilus insculptus before, so it's another lifer for my PSL. But the best news is that apparently nobody else has EVER seen one on Skye - so that's two firsts for Skye (plus those two possible firsts for Britain) in the bag and I've still only been here a few days. Brilliant!!

[EDIT: I've since been contacted by Tony Barber, he runs the Centipede Recording Scheme in Britain. He assures me that my record really is the first for Skye. Yippee!]

Here's a pic of that sexy floating pore on the coxa. You need to use a bit of imagination, maybe squint a bit too. My down-the-microscope pics leave a lot to be desired, and that's putting it mildly...

So what you're looking at is the arse end of the centipede. It's on its back, so you're looking at its underside. Check the top end of the last leg on the right (its left). See that big dimple that has been highlighted in the flash? That's a pore. Above it are several more (squint really hard dammit) but this isolated pore is the real clincher from similar species. I took pics of the fossae on the sternites, another clinching feature, but they turned out even worse than the image above. Yeah, really! For decent pics have a look at the BMIG webpage for the species here.

And here's the known British distribution according to the NBN Gateway (as used by BMIG). A friend of mine commented on Facebook "I have a feeling you're going to have fun" to which I replied, "Going to have?? " Hahahaa, yep I certainly am. 

As an aside there are now seven Dicranopalpus ramosus on the wall by the security light tonight.

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