Xenylla humicola

While this project and others like it are clearly working with very little to start with. It is always exciting to have something new come up in the samples! In this case we have the first VC59 specimen backed record of Xenylla humicola!

This species is described as being common. However, we aim to work on the basis that decisions on species conservation status should be based on current data and evidence. Not to do that introduces opinion, bias and error.

Similarly, the conservation management and designation of conservation areas is based on evidence. As such we must have data to evidence the existence of a species and also enable monitoring of that species over time.

So while it may be described as common and this may ultimately be proven the case. This is still a first! Check out the national distribution on the scheme species account below.

From the Recording Scheme species account;

Xenylla humicola is common species which is bluish black in colour and reaches 2.0 mm in length. Most records are from seashore debris and accumulated organic matter on the margins of saline water; it can also be extremely abundant on the percolating filters of sewage treatment works inland. Xenylla humicola has a furca in which the mucro/dens boundary is clearly separate (Fig. 1), marked by a notch on the ventral surface. In Figure 43c (p. 87) of Hopkin (2007) this boundary is shown as a line across the dens, which is not quite right (see Fig. 3), and led to Peter Shaw mis-identifying X. humicola until the COI barcode from a “Xenylla maritima” from the Lindisfarne tide line matched a Xenylla humicola from the Arctic. The mucro is long and pointed and is distinctive.

A unique chaetotaxic character is the presence of only 2+2 setae on the ventral side of the head either side of the ventral fluid-conducting channel (3+3 in other Xenylla species) but this is very difficult to see.

A big thank you to Steve McWilliam and Susan Marley for collecting this Springtail down on the banks of the Mersey (Hale Lighthouse, Lighthouse Road, Hale, Widnes, 18/02/2018, SJ47148097).

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