Summary for Nemastomella bacillifera (Opiliones)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
Nemastomella bacillifera was first recorded in the UK in 1988 (Smithers & Hogg 1991) under the genus Centatostoma (see Schönhofer 2013 for taxonomy) and is restricted to Billacombe and Plymouth in south-west England. A total of four records have been made up to 2016. It is common in the Pyrennees (Simon, 1879) and extends from northern Spain to south-west France. It is generally believed that it is an introduced species but is potentially indigenous. On the basis of a limited number of specimens there appear to be differences in the structure of the penis between the French, Spanish and British material. There are two sub-species recognised Nemastomella bacillifera bacillifera (Simon 1879) and Nemastomella bacillifera carbonaria (Simon 1907) but it is unclear where the British material fits within Nemastomella.
Habitat and ecology
The British records so far are all from low altitudes in urban areas near the coast. It is found below stones and in grassy tussocks in damp, shady places. The habitats include a quarry, a disused railway line and (in 2015) a cemetery in Plymouth.
The life-history is largely unknown. The British records are from January, February, April and June, with an adult male recorded in June. According to Hillyard (2005), adults occur in September/October. Eggs are believed to be laid in cavities in the soil (Pinto-da-Rocha et al. 2007 p.433).
May be indigenous, although possibly introduced. Appears to be established in the Plymouth/Billacombe area.
Text based on: Hillyard, P. D. 2005. Harvestmen: keys and notes for the identification of British species. Synopses of the British Fauna 4 (3rd edn). Field Studies Council, Shrewsbury.
Pinto-da-Rocha, R., Machado, G. & Giribet, G. (eds) 2007. Harvestmen: the biology of Opiliones. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.
Schönhofer, A. L. 2013. A taxonomic catalogue of the Dyspnoi Hansen and Sørensen, 1904 (Arachnida: Opiliones). Zootaxa 3679: 1-68.
Simon, E. 1879. Opiliones. In: Les Arachnides de France 7: 116-311.
Smithers, P. & Hogg, M. 1991. Centetostoma, a harvestman new to Britain. Newsletter of the British Arachnological Society 60: 8
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