Thursday, 31 March 2016

A new Operational Taxonomic Unit* for Cullalue - Tephrina betulae

On the fallen leaves of birch. Also T.populina on the fallen aspen leaves this morning

*Operational taxonomic unit
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In phylogeny an operational taxonomic unit (OTU) is an operational definition of a species or group of species often used when only DNA sequence data is available.[1] It is the most commonly used microbial diversity unit.

The definition given by NCBI is:

"Taxonomic level of sampling selected by the user to be used in a study, such as individuals, populations, species, genera, or bacterial strains."

Another definition:

"Operational taxonomic unit, species distinction in microbiology. Typically using rRNA and a percent similarity threshold for classifying microbes within the same, or different, OTUs"

The number of OTUs defined may be inflated due to errors in DNA sequencing.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Violet Ground Beetle

This one not from Cullaloe, but from Bavelaw/Red Moss in the Lothians. A nice beetle, though

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

200 lepidoptera!

Two new moth species from an early session last night took the reserve list to 200, including butterflies. Hopefully the 200 moth total will soon be reached. New ones were Mottled Grey and Yellow Horned (also new for NT18). This takes the new species for this year to 57, and the total species to 1363. 137 to go!

Monday, 21 March 2016

50 lichens!

So Protoblastenia rupestris has become the 50th lichen to be recorded at Cullaloe. A lovely mortar-lover which was inhabiting a small corner of a chunk of mortar on the wall near the disabled car park. There are plenty more to come but 50 was the target for this year.

Egle ciliata - a flower fly (Anthmoyiidae)

This nice little Anthomyiid fly is abundant at the moment, basking on sunlit tree trunks and often covered in Sallow pollen from the nearby Salix (cinerea presumably) trees. It's the most widespread of its genus.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Cullaloe newt

Palmate, I think. Seemed entirely sober, but then it was early.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Back to Cullaloe lichens

A lovely Physcia aipolia on the wooden fence near the entrance and Xanthoria polycarpa on a hawthorn near the filter beds

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Away day - Dumbarnie Links - 12/03/2016

A nice away day in lovely mild spring weather produced a catalogue of delights well worth the time spent meandering around

A nice addition to the reserve list which was inside the south pilbox was this Herald moth

None of the expected butterflies seemed to be present though - did they leave already?

There were a few nice lichens, some of which I could recognise ...

Acarospora fuscata on a boulder in the main slack
Lecanora chlarotera on an "imported" hawthorn

Lecidella elaeochroma - same hawthorn

Phaeophyscia orbicularis on pillbox bricks
and some which I couldn't ...

Pillbox - Lecidella scabra?

low down on Sycamore trunk
Some recognisable invertebrates showed up...

Phaedon tumidulus

Tenuiphantes tenuis

Thoracochaeta zosterae
and some others which still await determination.

Last but not least a few fungi popped up, but mostly the microfungi type at this time of year

A pyrenomycete on gorse

Phoma (Metasphaera) complanata

Tubercularia vulgaris - to be confirmed
For each group there are still outstanding samples to be determined - the sign of a productive day!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Bottle trapping

A quick bottle trapping session in the water found a couple of Water Boatmen, a few diving beetles as yet unidentified, a newt and a shed load of leeches. The newt I quickly released without photo, hopefully not too much the worse for wear. The water boatmen seem to have expired. Maybe they are quite delicate beasts despite their size. I have a couple of the diving beetles for determination and a couple of leeches out of ghoulish curiosity. I hoped they could be identified but this may take more capability than I have access to at the moment. Let's see.

I was amazed to find anything given the water looks like some kind of white ghastly chemical soup

Hydroporus palustris
The diving beetle turned out to be Hydroporus palustris, according to Nature of fife Coleoptera list the "commonest species of vegetated edges of lochs etc." Sounds fair enough

New Gate

In preparation for more livestock presumably, we have a new gate on the "Orchid Meadow"

I suppose I should do some tussocking in there while there are tussocks!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016


The reserve has had a haircut. Willows from the roadside have gone, as has the gorse bush from the top of the embankment. Now it's nice and tidy and won't provide a spot for sheltered flowers and invertebrate perches or impede the running around of the dogs that owners allow to crap all over the place.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Hyphomycete Ascodichaena rugosa

Another little sneaky fungus from the living branch of a beech. Hyphomycetes are asexually reproducing fungi, or anamorph stages of fungi which are also encountered with sexual stages.

and from Ellis & Ellis ...

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

On target

With a target of 1500 species recorded at Cullaloe by the end of the year that meant fiding 200 new species during 2016. Things are well on track before the invertebrates really kick off with 41 new species found so far this year.

The latest additions are two birch leaf fungi Gnomonia alni-viridis and Venturia ditricha (see for details!)

Fungi are way out in the lead with 15 new species and an additional 8 lichenised ones