Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre

Mycena juniperina – a new species for the UK spotted in Wiltshire

MycenaJuniperina4 A_Appleyard 01112015, MycenaJuniperina4 A_Appleyard 01112015 WSBRC USE ONLY

 

In November 2015, Anne Appleyard and Pat Woodruffe came across these rather unassuming fungi on the bark of juniper bushes in South Wiltshire.

At less than 1cm across it was very well spotted indeed! At first they thought it was a known but rare UK species and samples were sent off to Kew Gardens to confirm, but who instead identified it as Mycena juniperina (Aronson, Persoonia 16(2): 257 (1996)– a brand new species to Britain!

 MycenaJuniperina2 A_Appleyard 01112015, MycenaJuniperina2 A_Appleyard 01112015 WSBRC USE ONLYMycenaJuniperina3 A_Appleyard 01112015, MycenaJuniperina3 A_Appleyard 01112015 WSBRC USE ONLY

The species is a member of the section Supinae, it can be identified based on the colour of the pileus (the ‘cap’ on the fungi), and its growth on the juniper bush, which gives it its name. The species has been recorded in a number of European countries and as far away as both Scandinavia and Turkey. So if you come across some juniper bushes when out recording in Autumn and Winter take a moment to check for any tiny fungi growing on the tree bark, it could be M. juniperina and a 2nd record for the UK.

MycenaJuniperina5 A_Appleyard 01112015, MycenaJuniperina5 A_Appleyard 01112015 WSBRC USE ONLY

 

Other recent new species for the UK include the parasitic wasp, Lymantrichneumon disparis, which adds a whole new genus to Britain. It was found on the RSPB’s Broadwater Warren reserve in Kent by a butterfly collector in 2013. Also an entirely new family of spiders have been identified for Britain after the discovery of Trogloneta granulum in 2014 in Wales – a species of the Mysmenidae group of small orb-weaving spiders.

While you may need to wait till after summer to sport M. juniperina, a rare species to keep an eye out for now in Wiltshire for the Silver Colonel soldier fly (Odontomyia argentata). Martin Harvey is currently running a national survey to collate records of the species, as it appears to be quite widely distributed, but with very few recent records. There’s only one confirmed record for Wiltshire and as May is when their most active now’s a great chance spot to spot something new improve our knowledge of these rare and under-surveyed species.

 

For more information on how to identify the Silver Colonel please see http://www.brc.ac.uk/soldierflies-and-allies/silver_colonel

 

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