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Sherwood: First snow fleas found at nature reserve

Snow flea. Picture by Trevor and Dilys Pendleton

Snow flea. Picture by Trevor and Dilys Pendleton

Insect experts are all abuzz after the discovery of a new species of flea at Sherwood Forest.

The snow flea is a harmless variety, bearing no relation to the common flea but more closely related to scorpion flies found elsewhere in the UK.

The creepy crawlies have been found hopping about at Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve for the first time since records began.

Trevor and Dilys Pendleton made the discovery while working on a project for Notts County Council.

The Pendletons are specialists in identifying invertebrates, and this unusual species has caused quite a stir.

The couple found the snow fleas while searching within a mossy area of woodland in Sherwood, known locally by park rangers as the Heather Walk.

“It is always exciting when we are able to discover a new species within Sherwood Forest,” said Trevor.

“It is the first time that it has been recorded within the natural habitats at Sherwood Forest so we are very pleased to have made this significant find.”

“People can relax - the snow flea bears absolutely no relation to fleas apart from the name.”

The snow flea (Boreus hyemalis) was named after its habit of often being found on lying snow in the depths of winter.

It makes short jumps to escape and can jump around five or six centimetres at a time.

It loves the cold weather and is also at home nestled in moss where the larvae tunnel through.

Coun John Knight, culture committee chairman at Notts County Council said: “Sherwood Forest is world famous as a national nature reserve which is rich in its biodiversity.”

“It is always great news when we are able to confirm the sighting of a new species for the first time.”

“Trevor and Dilys Pendleton have a proven track record of making discoveries within our great forest and we are delighted at their latest find – the snow flea.”

 

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