Wednesday 7 April 2010

The log pile revisited

We made a couple of log piles in the garden last year. Today I dismantled one of them to check what was in it. This was a very 'untidy', and relatively dry log pile, with the logs having been covered on branches from pruning bushes around the garden and the location being under a large Philadelphus bush. The first finding was that a lovely crumbly pile of compost had accumulated around the logs. There was a lot of bug activity in the pile. The most abundant form of -visible- life were woodlice, especially the common rough woodlouse, Porcellio scaber, which made the compost move as they were so many, also some smooth woodlouse, Oniscus asellus and common striped woodlice Philoscia muscorum. I found three species of snails: many common garden snails, Helix aspersa (=Cornu aspersum) most of them hibernating; a yellow banded snail Cepaea (one of 5 specimens we released in the garden a couple of years ago), and several Glass Snails Oxychilus draparnaldi (photo above). Several yellow slugs Limax flavus crawled around. There were quite a few spiders, amongst then a very large Tegenaria and possibly an Amaurobius, which rapidly disappeared amongst the logs. I also found some Blunt-tailed Snake Millipede (Cylindroiulus punctatus), which coiled into a spiral when disturbed. I saw some new springtails, but I couldn't get a decent photo. As for insects, a Harlequin seemed to be hibernating on a log. By far the most shocking thing was a couple of enormous earthworms, Lumbricus terrestris, which I found while they abandoned the log pile - possibly feeling the disturbance - by creeping on the ground. One of them was so large that at first I thought it was a snake! Big fun examining this log pile, I am sure I forgot to mention some bugs. I didn't even go through the whole of it but it yielded quite a number of interesting finds.
A banded snail, some woodlice and an earthworm
Garden Snails
Three species of woodlouse can be seen in the image
A specimen of the millipede Cilindroiulus punctatus
The largest earthworm I've seen in my garden, creeping on the ground
The same earthworm being held, just for scale
A yellow slug, Limax flavus


Ellen Rathbone said...

Good Lord! Look at the size of that worm! Stupendous!

Suz said...

Oh i wish I had been there