Bullhead with eggs

This Bullhead (also known as Miller’s Thumb) was found underneath a stone in Park Brook. Closer inspection revealed its eggs attached to the stone. Apparently, in the spring the male makes a shallow hollow in the stream bed in which several females lay eggs. Then he guards the eggs until they hatch after about a month. He was certainly very amenable to having his photograph to be taken under water before we gently replaced his stone.

Male Bullhead protecting eggs, Park Brook, 3 May 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall

Bullhead eggs, Park Brook, 3 May 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall

Caddis Tinodes pallidulus McLachlan

Ian Wallace, UK Caddis Recording Scheme Organiser, has contributed information about the the caddis Tinodes pallidulus McLachlan, found commonly in the Wyre Forest:

This national rarity has Wyre as one of its four extant known sites. On June 3rd, I was pleasantly surprised to find this insect common along the Dowles Brook from Park House to Forest Lodge and a little way up both Forest Lodge and Kingswood streams.  Larvae of this genus make characteristic galleries in which they graze algae from the surface of the stones but may also make the galleries above the water level but wet from the surface film.  These latter type are like grow tunnels pushed up into as much light as possible so algae grow on their inner walls on which the larva feed.  The species has an annual life cycle and the galleries are easiest to see now.  Look for them on stones at the edge of the stream where the water flow is moderate to fast.  Note if you see similar galleries elsewhere it is not necessarily T. pallidulus .  The larvae I found key out as pallidulus but I hope to rear some to adult just to make sure!

Tinodes pallidulus larval cases, Wyre Forest, 3 June 2015 ©Ian Wallace

Tinodes pallidulus larval cases, Wyre Forest, 3 June 2015 ©Ian Wallace

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

Toads spawning!

I checked out one of the spawning sites in Wyre on Sunday 21st April. The spawning was almost over and there were many strings of spawn wrapped around the vegetation along the edges of the pool. There were one or two males still croaking, and I found one pair in amplexus, as seen in the photograph.

Toads in amplexus amongst spawn, 21st April 2013