Members Reports and Photos
SATURDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 2013
PRAEGER CENTRE, NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDENS
LEADER: ROY ANDERSON
Anderson’s workshop can only be described as a tour
de force. His introductory talk brought us up to date with regard to
developments in slug taxonomy which have been great aided by easy access to DNA
analysis which has helped to confirm and, in some case drive, changes in the
taxonomy of the slug family. En route
he gave us some equally fascinating insights into elements of Irish
Biogeography, the ancestry of western Irish people, Cistercian Abbeys and our
Lusitanian flora and fauna. Limacus
maculatus is native in Bulgaria. Why has Geomalacus
maculosus (Kerry Slug) moved into conifer plantations?
many of us were aware of the presence of Tandonia
rustica, apparently at its only site in Britain and Ireland, at Blarney and
that Stella Davies was the first person to recognise the existence of a new
orange-fringed species Arion owenii
(1979) from her visits to Buncrana in the Inishowen Peninsula? Her pioneering
work has since been confirmed by DNA analysis.
of us who have struggled to identify slugs using what was then Cameron’s
innovative and excellent coloured Field Study Council key will look forward to
the new key which Roy together with Ben Rosen and others at the Welsh Museum are
testing – perhaps with some trepidation because of new species and unfamiliar
names. However, judging by our experience with the prototype it should be a very
rewarding experience and on reflection it will be “a must” for everyone who
has any interest in this group of molluscs. The simple device of using a colour
banding to reflect variation in pigmentation will extremely useful.
is done using external features e.g. presence of absence of keel, colour, the
position of the pneumostome, presence of ‘fingerprint”, colour of antennae,
and relative size of tubercles ….
is now split into four groups: Arion (Kobeltia), Arion (Carinarion), Arion
(Mesarion) and Arion (Arion), comprising some 11 different species and it does
workshop was well attended with participants demonstrating exceptional interest
by their preparatory work. Sprinklers were out in gardens because of the drought
and combined with apple offerings ensured an impressive number of specimens. But
the prize, if there was one, would go to the buckets of slugs which arrived from
Crossmolina! Everyone got an opportunity to test the key with identified
specimens and had the bonus of leaving with an element of their garden fauna
well catalogued. The question being asked was the date of the next event!
Mollusc Ireland http://www.habitas.org.uk/molluscireland/is a very good site but bear in mind that parts or it will soon be superseded. Look at the species lists on this site for further information.
Photographs © Pat Lenihan
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