(227WOpla) Willowsia platani (Nicolet, 1841)

*nigromaculata (Lubbock, 1873)

Willowsia platani is a moderately common species covered in leaf-shaped scales (Fig. 1) and with a variable pattern of pigmented bands and spots on the dorsal side of the body (Fig. 2). The mucro has two teeth (Fig. 3) and the empodium is about two-thirds the length of the claw (Fig. 4).

Less-pigmented forms may be identified as Willowsia nigromaculata (Lubbock, 1873). Having examined the specimens in the NHML collection Steve concluded that these are simply colour varieties of the senior synonym Willowsia platani (Nicolet, 1841).  Set against this (and with strong overtones of Entomobrya intermedia), photos are turning up on photo-sharing websites that are being identified as Willowsia nigromaculata, such as this one in Worthing.

Willowsia platani is resistant to desiccation and is found under bark, in bird nests and in buildings.





Fig. 1: Leaf-shaped scales on the body of Willowsia platani collected from a bird nest at Grassingdale in April 1977 (collector not known).

Fig. 2: Willowsia platani (2.5 mm in length) collected from a 'balcony, house, London' in August 1952 (collector not known).

Fig. 3: Mucro and dens of the same specimen of Willowsia platani shown in Fig. 2.

Fig. 4: Foot of the third leg of the same specimen of Willowsia platani shown in Fig. 2. sts, spatulate tenant seta.

Facebook icon    Twitter icon    Instagram icon    LinkedIn icon © Roehampton University