Of course, floods are horrendous when they affect your property, family or livelihood, but if you're interested in insects and other invertebrates, they can also provide something of a bonanza. Huge numbers of invertebrates - snails, harvestmen, beetles, and more - live in the soil, amongst roots, in leaf litter or at the bases of grass tussocks, and at this time of year they're joined by a whole load of extra species that go there to spend the winter. When the water rises, these invertebrates are flooded out and washed downstream with all the other flotsam and jetsam - litter, sticks, etc. This all accumulates in heaps of debris around obstructions, and picking through these mounds can turn up all kinds of species.
|Flood debris collecting between the bank and a narrowboat|
|Vallonia costata, photographed down the microscope|
|Nemastoma bimaculatum from flood debris|
|A still-mysterious featherwing beetle, Ptiliidae sp. Image width approx. 1.5mm!|
|Flood debris beetles waiting to be identified - mostly carabids, particularly Bembidion spp., but also Heteroceridae, Aphodius, Hydrophilidae, mostly Cercyon spp., and some Chrysomelidae in tribe Alticini|