Science Week Workshops ;wood-mice and rushes

 

   I was invited to give three workshops for science week in local Libraries in county Meath.

   These were attended by national school pupils, from Duleek Boys National school, St. Fiach’s National School Ballinacree and St. Seachnall’s National school. My thanks to Ms Callaghan, Ms McKenna and Ms O’Neill and the staff of Duleek, Oldcastle and Dunshaughlin Libraries.

 I always  try to have a lot more than just pictures to show children when I visit schools so this requires  gathering up equipment , preserved specimens and some living specimens and loading up the car.

 

Pupils learning about living thingd
     Pupils learning about living things

The pupils from Ballinacree national school, before they got to handle some equipment themselves

 

The trap has sprung , a wood mouse inside

The trap has sprung , a wood mouse inside . The trap was set in a hedgerow

I baited a long-worth trap for several days before I set it ,and was able to bring alive wood mouse to the workshop.

wood mouse from a longworth live trap

wood mouse from a longworth live trap

 

wood mouse

wood mouse at the workshop

.I brought along lots of seed heads of rushes to show the pupils the cases of Coleophora spp. moths

micro-moth cases on rushes

micro-moth cases on rushes

Looking at  UK moths.org   suppose they are probably Coleophora alticolella

case unopened

case unopened

     In the warmth of the library some of the caterpillars decided to become mobile and started to wiggle and some wandered off bringing their cases with them

 

   Moving Coleophora  spp. caterpillar video  taken in November

 

   I have noticed in fields (such as that pictured below) that have had less rush management,seed heads would have more cases.

 

rushy field county cavan

rushy field county cavan

   On the other hand ,in fields that have had more rush management and field improvement, (such as that below)  the rush seed heads would have fewer  cases per seed head.

drained and reseeded field

drained and reseeded field

   So I asked the pupils to collect some data for me

data of cases on rush seed heads in rushy field

data of cases on rush seed heads in rushy field

results number of cases on seed heads on managed field

results number of cases on seed heads on managed field

 

   The results are displayed  as a bar chart below.

 However, I should admit at this point that my collection of the samples could well have influenced the results,  since I did want the pupils to see some cases. Despite that,  this species seems to be quite handy for field work and investigations and worth more work.

data of cases on rush seed heads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About bluedamseldiscovery

I work with schools, community groups and individuals to see if we can discover the natual history in the locality.

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