Something to look out for…

Over in the VC59 project group (if you’re not a member why not??) National Scheme coordinator Peter Shaw noted that a species widespread in the USA is being found increasingly throughout Europe. This species is Entomobrya unostrigata. 

The species is appears to be native to the Mediterranean area including Southern Europe. According to Fauna Europaea it is present in Spain, Italy and Bulgaria. As well as outside Europe in North Africa.

A 1995 Study into it’s spread in Australia by Penelope Greenslade discusses its association with disturbed ground and farming practices and how it has become widespread in similar situations on that continent;

…primary coloniser of bare, disturbed ground and indicator species of arable soil management practices.

More recently, in 2012, Jan van Duinen discovered this species, for the first time, in North-west Europe in the Netherlands.

The summary of the published discovery is particularly useful as they explore the possible habitat requirements and association of the species (and so give us some possible targets to explore!).

The springtail Entomobrya unostrigata new to north-western Europe(Hexapoda: Collembola: Entomobryidae)

In October 2012 the springtail Entomobrya unostrigata was found for the first time in northwestern Europe, in the Netherlands. Many individuals were found on Maasvlakte ii, a recently established industrial area covered with a sand-in-water slurry, near the sea-port of Rotterdam,in the province of Zuid-Holland. The habitat consists of an open, very sparsely vegetated,sandy soil, which dries up in summer. A litter layer was absent and there was a general lack of structure and sheltered microsites. Only one accompanying springtail was collected, Entomobrya multifasciata, an indicator for dry habitat. We believe that E. unostrigata can be found on other harbours along the coast of the North Sea with a similar microhabitat.

Taking a quick look at the iNaturalist records for America there is also a suggestion that this species may have an affinity with coastal areas or perhaps areas of thinner soil.

From the two papers noted about and suggestion from the iNaturalist data i think that there is a good chance that IF the species makes it here then it could find that the Sefton area and areas of the Mersey could be suitable both are habitats of thin soil. The Sefton Coast has a history of light arable use and of course exists because of disturbance. Much of the rest of the area is well fertilised and drained moor and bog so i suspect un-suitable as the species doesn’t appear to be associated with well enriched soils. There is a possibility though of its presence in urban areas..

This is of course largely assumption based on a quick skim of only two papers! I would be interested in the thoughts of others and links to further research if you find any (comment below!).

One Comment

  1. On its identification Frans Janssen has of course already provided a resource!

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