** Please note that this is a 2-day workshop on 17 and 18 May. Day 1 will take place at Sudley House and Day 2 will be at the World Museum.**
Centipedes are some of the commonest larger invertebrates found in Britain and occur in many different habitats from domestic gardens and urban sites to truly wild countryside and the likelihood of seeing one when you turn over a large stone or piece of wood nearly anywhere outdoors is quite high.
Indeed, looking at sites in towns or disturbed sites can often turn up quite unusual animals. They also sometimes come into houses (all our species are harmless!), can be found in greenhouses and several types occur on our sea-shores.
Although recorded throughout Britain (and Ireland), there remain many areas from which few (or even no) records have been made – and these are not remote Scottish Islands necessarily but often our larger cities. Just over fifty species are recorded in Britain although some of these are confined to heated glasshouses and a few others have only been found a small number of times or appear to be quite restricted in their distribution.
This makes them a manageable size group of animals to study, supported by the availability of modern identification keys and through the British Myriapod & Isopod Group (BMIG.org.uk) whose “experts” are available to give support. And there is a chance of finding a species new to your area or even to Britain…
The course is about gaining an introduction to centipedes and gaining confidence (with support) in identifying them. We will look at their characteristics, their occurrence and habits and ways of collecting and identifying them.
There will be both “outdoor” and “indoor” (lab. based) sessions with slides, microscope work and examination of both dead (preserved) and living specimens. It also aims to encourage recording of species and the submission of records to both local and national recording schemes.
No previous knowledge of centipedes or experience of using identification keys or microscopes is needed to enjoy the course – just a passion for the natural world and looking at wildlife, especially common but often overlooked animals.
Please note that this course will, as necessary, involve the collection, killing and preservation of specimens.
Tony Barber is a member of the British Myriapod & Isopod Group and one of the editors of its annual (now on-line) Bulletin. He is organiser of the national Centipede Recording Scheme and author of the Field Studies Council AIDGAP “Key to the Identification of British Centipedes” (2008) and the Linnean Society Synopsis 58 “Centipedes” (2009) as well as a number of scientific papers on these animals.
Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided but participants should bring a packed lunch or use the venue cafes.
Access: There are lifts between each of the floors in World Museum and Sudley House, and assistance dogs are permitted. The grounds of Sudley house are grassy and would be accessible to wheelchairs following dry conditions.
Tickets for this event are £15 pp and pre-booking is essential.