Thursday, 23 February 2017

Slugging it Out

In a continuation of the thought process mentioned in the last post, I have indeed created a new page dedicated to the molluscs I find in NG3963. If you really are too damn lazy to click on the tab in the navbar overhead, you can click here instead. I've also created a page for the fish I find. Get me!

Most of my mollusc pictures were pretty grim. To say they were mediocre would be stretching the truth, hence I spent most of this afternoon out and about with my camera in search of slugs and snails. In all honesty the new pics are still pretty crap, I really do need to upgrade my clickamatic. I won't bore you senseless with umpteen slug pics (that's what the Mollusc page is for!) but here are a few of the 'less awful' ones

Deroceras reticulatum - a common and variable species in NG3963
Dark-striped sole and clear, sticky mucus of Tandonia budapestensis
Hopefully this is Arion hortensis, it'll be new to Skye if so!
But of course I wasn't just looking at slugs, I also found a couple of terrestrial flatworms and a land nemertine.

Kontikia andersoni (red and orange) and Microplana terrestris (grey-brown) from under a plastic sheet
Despite being such a gaudy looking creature, Kontikia andersoni is doubtless under-recorded in Britain, in fact it seems that this may be the first Scottish record! This one was about a centimetre long, the Microplana terrestris elongated itself to maybe 2cm in length which I've never seen them do before. I did wonder if it was actually Rhynchodemus sylvaticus, but the movements and eye placement were wrong. 

See that thin yellowish stream in front of the animal.....just read on!
I found this land nemertine on a bit of moss-covered debris in long grass, a tiny wee thing. I wasn't sure if it was another flatworm or not and then it did something quite incredible - the long yellow thing lashed out from its head, blindly waved and flickered around a few times (imagine a hummingbird's tongue rapidly probing a deep flowerhead!) and seemed to drop off! What the..??? It was all so fast it was amazing, I'm lucky to have been watching at that precise instant. I tried to pot the tiny beast but incredibly it just fell to pieces in a sloppy mess! Buggered if I know what's going on, but all that was left were gobbets of slimy body pieces that I wiped off on my jeans! If anybody knows the species I'd be happy to hear your thoughts. I'm guessing it's an Argonemertes sp but that's as far as I can get. At a guess. 

I wandered up to the cemetery (checking the walls for molluscs to photograph) and found my first Pogonognathellus longicornis and Petrobius maritimus of the year, plus Hedgehog Slug Arion intermedius and Silver False-keeled Slug Arion circumscriptus silvaticus as new for the square, cool. A lone Megabunus diadema was clambering about the drystone wall that surrounds the cemetery. 

There you go, a whole blogpost where the largest species mentioned measures a whole inch in length!

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