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Springtail insect species recorded in UK for first time in nearly 80 years

A rare insect species of springtail has been recorded in the UK for the first time in nearly 80 years, according to Dr Peter Shaw from the Department of Life Sciences, who has been the UK recorder for this group since 2007. 

Posted: 29 September 2016

The springtail Friesea acuminata was discovered at Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset, by a wildlife photographer Steve Trewhella. This species has only been recorded in the UK three times before pre-dating World War II.

Dr Peter Shaw said "This discovery is extremely rare and exciting, because this springtail has not been recorded in the UK since 1939 on the Essex Coast, and before that from Swanage (near Kimmeridge) in 1918. This contributes towards our knowledge of the biodiversity in Dorset.”

The springtail is barely visible to the naked eye and grows to about 1mm in length. They typically live near the shorelines and are covered at high tide spends most of its life covered at high tide in air pockets under boulders, since they are thought to be unable to breathe underwater.

Dr Peter Shaw is a Reader in Zoology and specialises within the ecology and genetic diversity of UK Collembola (springtails). The Department of Life Sciences at the University of Roehampton offers outstanding undergraduate courses in Zoology and Biological Sciences.

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