Submitted by AJ Cann on Wed, 06/02/2019 - 15:13
    Springtails in the Triangle

    The "Lutterworth Triangle" is the least well recorded area of the county - but we're working on it. More...

    Whichever group you look at - plants, animals, insects - the "Lutterworth Triangle" (the area between Leicester, Lutterworth and Market Harborough in the south of the county) is the least well recorded area in VC55. There are several reasons for this - poor access in places, large areas of intensive agriculture and no nature reserves - but whatever the cause, we're largely in the dark about what goes on down there. 

    As the County Co-ordinator for Collembola (springtails), I am in the process of trying to build a springtail atlas for the county, so I dedicated January to collecting data in the deep south. In all, I was able to visit 7 sites and record 15 different springtail species. Mostly this involved collecting leaf litter and sifting through it. Although January sometimes seems devoid of most insect life, that's really only true for flying insects - the leaf litter is alive with centipedes, millipedes, spiders and woodlice which I also recorded, including several new species which have never been documented in Leicestershire and Rutland before. So I have two suggestions for you. First, why not plan a day out in the Lutterworth Triangle? If recording wildlife isn't enough of a draw for you, there are some really nice pubs down there too! Second, have a closer look at that brown, unpromising leaf litter still hanging on under the hedges and the quiet corners of gardens, parks and churchyards. You never know what you'll find and all records are welcome on NatureSpot. If you need any help identifying the springtails, please let me know, and if you want to know more about the springtails of Leicestershire and Rutland: