The Circle of Life
Wednesday, August 30th 2017
The day began with the usual Wednesday opening of the moth trap, before gathering up equipment for our Circle of Life event. The whole idea of today’s event was to look at food chains, decay and forms of seed dispersal.
With this wide subject we were able to engage with our young attendees at various levels; talking about the way birds eat berries, to how a fox may transfer seeds via its excretions. We talked about two forms of fungi; those with a symbiotic relationship with its host like Fly Agaric, as well as the stump/rotting wood consuming Green Sulphur Tuft fungi.
The wormery, which has recently been re-vamped by Colin Withers and Brian Rogers, was an amazing teaching aid; showing folk the work the humble earthworm carries out beneath our feet….
….before looking at various invertebrates below rotting logs and their role in the decaying of wood matter.
This beetle the children called a rhino, and another called it a dinosaur, but it is in fact called Sinodendron cylindricum, and is one of our three UK stag beetles; sometimes called Least Stag Beetle or Horned Stag Beetle.
This is the most widespread of the UK's stag beetles, with larvae that develop within sawdust-packed tunnels in the dry rotting wood of some tree species (including dead branches of living trees). Paired males and females will often inhabit their breeding tunnel for some time, with males guarding the tunnel entrance. The above is a male.
The food web game got us thinking about interactions between plant, invertebrates, birds and mammals before heading back to the Field Centre for well-earned refreshments.
In other news: Thank you to the moth group and flower group for their detailed recording of species today.
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