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On one side of a local railway station there is a huge stone embankment, perhaps 50 feet tall, that was probably constructed in the 1880s (the platforms were opened in 1888). I walked along the path next to this embankment a couple of days ago and couldn’t help but notice several areas where moisture was seeping from between the stone blocks. When I looked more closely at these seepages, I was amazed by how much life they were supporting – an intriguing habitat in miniature.

230302 seepage

As well as a variety of mosses and lichens, I found four miniscule springtails, which I think are Monobella grassei, a new species for me, though my identification hasn’t yet been validated.

230302 Monobella grassei

There was also a stunning little snail, covered in grooves that are actually growth lines. Again, its identity has yet to be confirmed, but I think this is probably a Two-toothed door snail (Clausilia bidentata). The Naturespot website reports that it can often be found hiding in cracks in rocks and that it ’emerges in damp weather and at night and climbs high up on bare surfaces to graze on algae and lichens’, which is exactly what this one was doing.

230302 clausiliidae species