adventures in nature with a camera

Snake in the Woods

1505g187I was supposed to be shooting the coast near Arnside but was uninspired. The sky was steely blue, a high sun shone brightly on the high tide and there was a distinct lack of clouds. A typical chocolate box day, my least favourite type for landscape photography. Making matters worse, my main camera was in for repair so I was stuck with a rental Canon which was unfamiliar to me.

After spending a couple of hours wandering the foreshore capturing what I could I decided to throw in the towel and head to my favourite woodland to see what I could see. The beech dappled light gave me hope as I wandered amongst the ramsons without too much of a goal.

And then I spotted it. Ommatoiulus sabulosus as I subsequently discovered! For a brief though it became a snake, or at the very least a small slow-worm. Lines of legs gave it away as nothing more than a millipede of course, but a millipede the likes of which I’d never encountered before.

1505g192No usual tiny dark brown, blackish bodied creature here. This was exotic beyond belief with two go faster stripes running the length of its ample body. Gingery lines that seemed to glow with an internal florescence. Perhaps twice the size of its commoner, plainer cousins this chap was happily munching on something quite invisible on the surface of the ransom leaves and held relatively still as I took numerous photos.

Its common name is the striped millipede. No surprise there then! Although I found it deep in a slug infested woodland of unimaginable lushness it’s quite a cosmopolitan fellow and frequents habitats ranging from sandy foreshores to mountain ranges. Unlike most other millipedes it’s often active during daylight hours.

1505g193Occasionally this particular species decides it’s time for a bit of travel and mass migrations can cause quite a problem as they invade houses en masse! A convey of striped millipedes must be a sight to behold, just the one was entrancing.

As an aside, the name millipede references the number of legs, reputedly 1,000. Although it may seem like that many the beast isn’t quite so well endowed. I estimated somewhere around 240 for this individual. How on earth it coordinates that number of limbs is beyond me!

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