(233ORqui) Orchesella quinquefasciata

Orchesella quinquefasciata is mentioned in checklists from a few scattered localities but there are no specimens in the NHML slide collection. Peter Shaw  collected specimens from a Yew wood at Kingley Vale near Chichester (Fig. 1) which comply with the description of Orchesella quinquefasciata (i.e. five broken longitudinal stripes of pigment on the body).  Matty Berg inspected these and was confident of them being O. quinquefasciata.   Steve Hopkin remained dubious of this species, observing that the abdominal pattern matches that of the illustration of Orchesella villosa subspecies atrofrontalis in Stach's (1960) monograph (Plate XIII, Fig. 3), although the head and antennae are less pigmented in the Kingley Vale specimens.  The question of the validity of colour pattern species within the Collembola will recur many times until molecular techniques are brought in, but where these have been used they have generally supported the 'splitters' - in other words, differences in colour patters tend to correlate with genetic separation.  Any further records of 5-banded Orchesellas would be very gratefully received.




Fig. 1: Preserved specimens of Orchesella quinquefasciata of 4.5 mm in length collected from the famous Yew wood at Kingley Vale, Chichester.

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