Thursday, November 10, 2011

Leaf miners and fungi

Yesterday I was gazing (for no good reason) at the bilateral chains of heath speedwell (Veronica officinalis) leaves that spread across the Square Metre.  They seem to stand out at this time of year as the grass dies back.

Then on one leaf I noticed a dark track along the left hand edge.  This turned out to be a mine made by a larva of the fly Phytomyza crassiseta.  I once found an adult of this species in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, but this would appear to be a first record for the species in East Sussex.

20111107  (13) Metre Phytomyza crassiseta mineSince the heath speedwell arrived in the square in September 2005 it has attracted the scarce flea beetle Longitarsus lycopi, and now this fly.  In the picture above the shot holes in the leaf may have been made by the beetle.

The JNC  database list 11 species associated with this plant, but it is extremely unlikely that all of those would occur in Emthree.  I'll keep looking though, in case I can find some more and there is also a microfungus associated with this plant.

I also gathered up some of the medlars and have put them in a flower pot to see if they attract anything, animal or vegetable.  Today there was one female winter gnat (Trichocera) resting inside the pot, possibly interested in the fruit.

20111107 Metre medlars in flowerpot The other fruits that are very distinctive at the moment are the those of the black bryony (Tamus communis), high up in the medlar tree.

20111107  (14) Metre Tamus communis fruit


So much of each day is taken up with small things. 

I watch a pen gliding over paper leaving its black, twisted trails like drawings of leaf mines.  These word trails represent some sort of reality but only a partial account of what goes on in the brain.

The luminous multichrome internal fantasia that never ceases while we are awake cannot be replicated, or even approximated, in words.  Words are a faint music heard from the distant mountains of the nervous system, the Sierra Nervosa.  So much of what we feel and experience will never be expressed.