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Science
THE LIVING WORLD
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PROGRAMME INFO
Sunday 06:35-07:00
The Living World is a gentle weekend natural history programme, which aims to broadcast the best, most intimate encounters with British wildlife.
nhuradio@bbc.co.uk
LISTEN AGAINListen 25min
Listen to 7 March
PRESENTER
BRETT WESTWOOD
Brett Westwood
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Sunday 7 March 2004
Autumn leaves

Snug As A Bug

With the temperature slowly warming, Brett Westwood visits Chaddesley Woods in Worcestershire to rummage among fallen leaves, dried stems and rotting branches.  This autumn debris provides an invaluable home for many insects that can't escape to a warmer climate for winter.  The richly rotted leaf litter is a one-stop shop - providing a source of food, warmth and moisture.  

Among the well-known insects like woodlice, snails and beetles, Brett comes across some more unusual ones in the company of naturalist Harry Green.  One such little-known mini-beast is the land caddis, rare across the country but found very commonly around Worcestershire.  These tiny creatures, which form cases made of sand grains to live in for several months of the year, look like tiny twigs - barely discernable to the naked eye amongst the brown leaf litter mulch. 

Smaller again than the land caddis but much more abundant are the springtails.  They measure 2-4mm in length and are the tiny creatures seen leaping if you lift any pile of leaves or branches in a wood in winter - they are possibly the most abundant insects on the planet. 

If you think you have come across land caddis, further information can be found on this webpage plus details of how to contact Harry Green and notify the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre of your find: Hunt the Land Caddis .

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