Fallow Deer antler velvet

Roy Finch spotted this piece of detached Fallow Deer antler velvet in Postensplain. The Fallow bucks cast their antlers each spring and the new growth, extensions of the pedicles, develops very quickly over about 4 months being fed by many blood vessels in the velvet. When the antlers are fully grown, the velvet is rubbed off to expose the new clean antlers beneath which are ready when the bucks fight in the October rut.

Discarded velvet from Fallow Buck antler, Postensplain, 23 August 2014

Fish Louse Argulus foliaceus

Whilst pond dipping in Snuff Mill Pools, with permission from the owner, we caught this tiny creature. It was about 2 mm long, flattened, transparent and fast swimming. Will Watson has identified it for us as the free-swimming stage of the fish louse Argulus foliaceus. This is a crustacean that will eventually parasitise fish by attaching itself to the skin which it pierces to feed on its body fluids.

Fish Louse, Argulus foliaceus, Snuff Mill pool, 6 August 2014

Dark Green Fritillaries

A few Dark Green Fritillary butterflies have been spotted flying in Wyre this summer, along rides and in meadows. It is thought that they may have been released by a breeder rather than be natural colonisation. Jonathan Cartwright was able to get these photographs – not an easy task as these butterflies are strong flyers, especially in the heat of the day!

Dark Green Fritillary, Wyre Forest, 16th July 2014

Dark Green Fritillary, Wyre Forest, 16th July 2014