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Thousand species challenge – the results are in!

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My thousand species challenge finished on New Year’s Eve, yet it felt more like a beginning than an end. This was an epic undertaking, but with the most amazing educational and obsessive attractants. The target was to find one thousand species, of any taxa, within a single kilometre square. The square that I chose included my garden, which also provided an interesting journey of discovery.

I reached one thousand species on 29th July 2013, and eventually ended up with 1,170. These included the following taxa:

  • Amphibian 3
  • Aphid 5
  • Bird 86
  • Bristletail 1
  • Bryophyte 16
  • Assorted bug 35
  • Centipede 2
  • Charophyte 1
  • Coleoptera 42
  • Crustacean 1
  • Diptera 53
  • Fish 3
  • Fungi 30
  • Hymenoptera 28
  • Lacewing 3
  • Lepidoptera 451
  • Lichen 10
  • Mammal 13
  • Millipede 4
  • Mollusc 22
  • Odonata 12
  • Orthoptera 6
  • Leech 1
  • Spider 27
  • Trichoptera 5
  • Vascular plant 305
  • Woodlouse 3
  • Worm 1

The moth trap was a major source of new species, and gave me valuable new skills, but it was the other taxa that really tested me (apart from birds). I never knew how difficult fungi were to identify, or caddisflies, or bees. Conversely, I found spiders, ground beetles, molluscs and hoverflies more straightforward.

It was also interesting to learn something about the habitats within my 1km square. A green lane was amazingly diverse, and the ponds, ditches and streams were an obvious source of new species. The garden was also terrific. These are important lessons for ecologists I think. Even small and isolated patches of habitats within a less diverse landscape are important for biodiversity, and not just protected species. Perhaps 3 out of the 1170 species I noted were legally protected!

It’s also the start of a great journey for me, as I start to become more knowledgeable about some species groups, and maybe even start finding some really rare and interesting things! It’s known as pan-species listing. Look it up, it may be for you!

Rosy footman moth

Rosy footman moth, one of the 1170!


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