Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Bog Earwort in Glamorgan

Two days ago I recorded small quantities of the Nationally Scarce Scapania paludicola at the same site I first noted it at in 2014 (top photo, one of several monitoring plots on Tair Carreg Moor), the land sitting in the shadow of the huge overburden mound on Merthyr Common. The vegetation in the area where it occurs is a mosaic of rather ordinary M24a and M6d, perhaps suggesting the species could be more widespread in the county than records currently indicate. Photographic sequences of the monitoring plot show the vegetation has become more rank in recent years due to reduced grazing, but despite this, low density bryos can still be found by carefully searching in the gaps between the tussocks of Molinia. Direct associates in this niche were all at very low abundance and included Calypogeia fissa, Hypnum jutlandicum, Scapania irrigua and Sphagnum denticulatum. The above photo shows the specimen collected in 2014, those below being from 2017, these perhaps better illustrating the strongly arched keel which gives the species its characteristic appearance.

Clare Mockridge has provided the bulk of Glamorgan records, with six entries from 1994 to 1998, a period of extensive Phase II NVC work in the county; though most records are from Llantrisant Common. The only other county record was provided by Peter (Sturgess) & Roy (Perry) at the Fochriw Reclamation Scheme Site in 2010. Wider searches will hopefully reveal more about this seemingly localised species.

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