Sunday 13 September 2009

British Wildlife: J

Jamoytius kerwoodi White, 1946
Family incertae sedis; Order incertae sedis; Anaspida; Chordata

Looking a lot like a modern lamprey, the fish known as Jamoytius was found in Scotland. It dates back to the Silurian Period, and is reputed to be the earliest known anaspid (jawless) fish. The unusual generic name apparently comes from the name 'J. A. Moy-Thomas'.

Reconstruction of Jamoytius kerwoodi, taken at Manchester Museum, July 2008

As you can see, I based my extra-colourful turquoise reconstruction on this model in Manchester Museum.

Jynx torquilla (Linnaeus, 1758)
Picidae; Piciformes; Aves; Chordata

Looking quite unlike any other member of the Picidae, the wryneck is an aberrant species of woodpecker native to Eurasia. It was formerly a regular summer visitor to the UK, but has ceased breeding, and is now a rare vagrant. Like their larger relative the green woodpecker (Picus viridis), the wryneck eats mostly ants, which it collects from anthills. It doesn't create its own nest holes in trees either.

Corvus monedula Linnaeus, 1758
Corvidae; Passeriformes; Aves; Chordata

One of the smallest and most distinctive members of the genus Corvus, the jackdaw is an ubiquitous bird in the UK and most of Europe; it betrays its presence by its heckling 'jack' call. There is a related species in Asia, the Daurian jackdaw (Corvus dauuricus).

Corvus monedula soemmerringii (Fischer, 1811)
Lefkosia, Cyprus
May 2009

The western jackdaw, the species found in the UK, has four races. C. m. spermologus is the one most commonly found in the UK, with some vagrants from Scandinavia of the nominate race being found in winter. C. m. soemmerringii is from eastern Europe and western Asia, and is the subspecies found in Cyprus. I saw few jackdaws there, and this was the only individual I got a photo of. Lefkosia is the 'new' name for Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus (incidentally, the capital of both North Cyprus and the Greek side), and is almost completely built up. This bird was seen perching by the roadside at a busy junction. It looks slightly different to British jackdaws, mainly by the band of white on the neck.

Next week, K: a symmetrodont mammal, a flowering plant and an exquisite riparian bird.

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