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Beginners Guide to Centipedes

26th March 2022 | 10:00 – 16:00

Beginners Guide to Centipedes
A table showing the details of the Beginners Guide to Centipedes event
Venue:Herefordshire Archive and records Centre
Address:Fir Tree Lane, Rotherwas, Hereford HR2 6LA
Tutor:Paul Richards

Contact:Tim Kaye

Focus on the ecology and characteristics of Centipedes (Chilopoda) and the UKs 50 species.

The multi-limbed ‘Myriapods’ are, as the name suggests, creatures with a myriad of legs. But that is largely where the similarity ends. The various members of the myriapoda are quite diverse and show a wide range of forms and life histories. The fast moving or highly flexible centipedes are voracious predators and the slower, bull-dozing millipedes are decomposers. Both are important and beneficial components of soil and leaf litter ecosystems, eating pests and breaking down plant material. Through illustrated talks, microscope investigation and field practice, these two courses will dig into the detail of their life histories and how to identify many of the local species.

Day one will introduce the Myriapoda and then focus on the ecology and characteristics of Centipedes (Chilopoda). The 50 centipede species found in Britain look superficially very similar and identification can offer some initial difficulties for the beginner, but a few simple pointers and the ability to count up to 100 will help you to quickly get to grips with recognising many species!
Paul Richards has nearly 40 years experience as a professional zoologist, curator and ecologist specialising in ground invertebrates. He is currently working with a research team looking at Heliconius butterfly wing scale development and mimicry evolution at the University of Sheffield, where he has previously researched urban invertebrate diversity, ecosystem services and bird reproduction. In recent years he has undertaken commercial field ecology and worked for Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust as Ecological Monitoring Officer and helped to write the Sheffield State of Nature Report. For the 25 years prior to that he was Senior Curator of Natural History at Museums Sheffield.

Paul is Sorby Natural History Society recorder for Millipedes, Centipedes, Woodlice, Harvestmen, and Pseudoscorpions. He wrote the BMIG guide to millipedes, centipedes and woodlice as well as the new atlas of Dragonflies of the Sheffield area. The updated second edition of his FSC guide to British Harvestmen is currently being finalised and will be available soon. He is an active contributor to a number of Facebook invertebrate groups and is a passionate advocate of biological recording.

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