New Years Resolutions?

With the implementation of new management plans on Thorne and Hatfield Moors SSSI there might be a case to be made for establishing the current status of key species like Curimopsis nigrita.  It’s a delightful beast, at a mere 2mm, and given the affectionate pseudonymn of the “bog hog” in order that the media could conjour up mental images unhindered by taxonomy.

The last serious study was undertaken in the mid 1990s and the findings were published as a confidential report in 1996.  The habitat requirements for C. nigrita can perhaps be broadly described as damp peat where the mosses Dicranella cerviculata and D. heteromala are present.  Other moss species such as Campylopus pyriformis and Pohlia nutans will also be eaten and observations have noted single-celled green algae as well as cladonia lichen species with loose tectured soreida on their surfaces also being eaten.

Curimopsis nigrita: the infamous and delightful "bog hog" ... Image copyright Brian Eversham.

Curimopsis nigrita: the infamous and delightful “bog hog” …
Image copyright Brian Eversham.

Considering the size of the beetle, then factor in Thorne Moors being  approximately 1900 hectares and Hatfield Moors 1400 hectares then there’s bound to be a few man hours needed if there is to be any semblance of accuracy.  The new generation of gizmo assisted whizz kids (who will almost certainly never have even seen the species in the field) will offer up models of survey which will provide representative population estimates.  That’s fine, in fact that’s excellent but then surely a prudent land manager would want to validate any hypothesis?  Then it’s back to painstaking and meticulous field work.

Lichens are a neglected discipline.  See the ‘post’ of 24 December for evidence that effort can be rewarded.  A concerted endeavour could certainly deliver ‘moor’.  Indeed Monday 10 December 2012 saw the discovery of a new record for Hatfield Moors (and the second Yorkshire record) that of Cladonia incrassata.  See Brian Eversham’s excellent ‘cladoniophile’ flickr pages for superb images of the discovery.

So, perhaps a target species for the coming year could be Cladonia sulphurina, a species known from Hatfield Moors and last recorded there in the early to mid eighties (pers comm. Eversham).

Happy hunting and do please get in touch and let us know of your discoveries. 

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