Deuterosminthurus pallipes


It’s been a while!

Working at a LERC certainly has its benefits. Much of what i do i also enjoy and i am fortunate that i can sometimes justify spending time on projects such as this! unfortunately, sometimes i can’t and that has been the case over the last few months. A summer rush has kept me from the fascination that is the Collembola..

However, during last nights ‘Twilight Sesssion’ at Merseyside BioBank i found myself in a position to spend some time sifting through recently collected vacuum samples from the Green Acres BioBlitz.

It was while talking through an identification on the big screen when i realised what we had was Deuterosminthurus pallipes a species new to VC59 based on project and national scheme data.

National distribution of 
Deuterosminthurus pallipes

I had originally thought it to be a somewhat squashed Sminthuridae. It’s abdomen low and almost saddle like. However, by the time we started looking closely at antennae segment 4 it was apparent that Hopkin’s would take me in to uncharted territory!

The segmentation on ant4 were quite difficult. Ultimately the ‘bumps’ along the edges of the segment helped in the count. Checking the Empodium was the only other stumbling block. Purely down to resolution of the microscope image. Some judgement was required here but the empodium was small and very unlike the broader and separate feature’s in Hopkin’s the diagram. 

Once to Deuterosminthurus, our pure purple animal became a relatively straightforward assignment to D. pallipes. Hopkin’s describes this species as common and widespread so i doubt this is the last we shall see of this new discovery.

So there you have it. One new species for VC59! More details on this species can be found on the Roehampton project site here.

Thanks to Steve and Sue for putting up with the keying and rambling during the identification and also the pre-sorting of endless Entomobrya nivalis and E. albocincta. Oh, so many..

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