The becoming of a wildflower meadow – postscript, a new discovery!

Editor – Uta has described how a group of allotmenteers set up a wildflower meadow at the Washbrook allotments in the first two episodes. Her story concludes here.

Towards the end of June, Alan Cann, a local naturalist, visited the Washbrook Allotments to look for invertebrates in the wildflower meadow. Alan has a particular interest in spiders and springtails, two mostly overlooked groups of invertebrates that nevertheless play an important part in the ecosystem. I invited him as I was curious to know what lives in our wildflower meadow that we try to manage not just for the pretty flowers and bees. We also leave space for a wide range of wildlife that lives hidden away particularly amongst the rougher and more weedy areas. I wanted Alan to look in these spaces as well.

The species Alan found at the allotment

Alan took samples from different areas of the meadow and found in them nine species of spiders, two beetles and seven bugs, many of them from the nettle patches. Among the bugs Alan found was a species called the Apple Brown Bug which has never before been recorded anywhere else in Leicestershire and Rutland. The map below shows its distribution in the two counties and the UK. This bug feeds on Apple and Hawthorn plants of which there is plenty everywhere in the countryside. Why it is so rare is not clear but one reason might well be because there are not many people looking for this sort of tiny bug. It does seem to be uncommon though.

Apple Brown Bug

Alan submitted the record to NatureSpot, a website for recording wildlife in Leicestershire and Rutland, which now shows a single red dot for this species in Knighton