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10.03.14 Sweeping, sieving and beating at St John's Sub Castro.

Sussex WildlifeTrust ecologist Graeme Lyons led a group around St John's Sub Castro churchyard showing us a range of techniques that can be used to survey for invertebrates.

The Group in St John's churchyard.
The Group in St John's churchyard.

One of the first invertebrates we saw was this peacock basking in the sunshine.

Peacock
Peacock

Graeme started by demonstrating using a sweep net to survey the areas of longer grass in the churchyard.

Graeme sweeping up in the churchyard
Graeme sweeping up in the churchyard

A discarded bottle is an unusual habitat for invertebrates to colonise but after close scrutiny...

The bottom of the bottle
The bottom of the bottle

...Graeme discovered that it was the home to 2 species of snail. The chalk woodland round-mouthed snail Pomatias elegans (2 pictured here) androtund disc snail Discus rotundatus (the smaller snail which is sitting in the top snail's operculum).

Snails from the bottom of the bottle.
Snails from the bottom of the bottle.

Another technique is beating. Trees and bushes in various situations were hit with a stick and the invertebrates that fell from them were studied and identified. One interesting discovery from this technique was the weevilSciaphilus asperatus.

The results of beating around the bush
The results of beating around the bush

The leaf litter on the ground is a valuable habitat for invertebrates and sifting this litter with a sieve can result in some interesting discoveries. Here we discovered the spider Clubiona terrestris and the buzzing spider Anyphaena accentuata.

Litter picking
Litter picking

Graeme will be leading 4 events as part of the DownTown Lewes project on June 1st and June 8th.

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