Heene Cemetery’s species index

Heene Cemetery’s species index, listing on one page all the species that have been identified in the Cemetery, linking each species to its page in the database.

Species surveying in Heene Cemetery is an ongoing affair, and this index is updated whenever new species are recorded. This last happened on May 20th 2024 when the total species count was 645 Each species listed here links to its record page in the database, where descriptions and photographs can be viewed individually. (Background information about species surveys and identification is provided at the bottom of this page.)

(The species database on this website can be searched using various helpful filters on the species search page.)

Quick links to each species group (within this page)

Amphibians (1)

The Cemetery has no large area of standing water, just a couple of very small (bucket-sized) ponds. We’ve yet to see a toad, and newts would be a rare but welcome delight.

Arachnids (19)

Arachnids are spiders, harvestmen, mites and ticks. Almost all adult arachnids have eight legs, and do not have antennae. (This category also includes gall mites, which we cannot see with the naked eye but who presence can be determined by the swelling growths they create on leaves.)

Birds (37)

We count birds in the Cemetery only if they have been seen on the ground or perched on a branch. Ones flying overhead – of which there have been many more than those listed here – are not counted.

Butterflies and moths (55)

There will be many more butterflies and moths in the Cemetery than those listed here. We have no plans to use sweep nets to capture these delicate creatures, so the number we are able to identify will always be a portion of the real population. Our moth trap – from which caught creatures can be released unharmed – is in competition with surrounding street lights, so the moth count remains low for the moment.

Flowering plants (220)

The overwhelming majority of the flowering plants that the Cemetery is home to is because it was meadowland prior to its creation in the early 1870s. This one acre plot of land has probably never been ploughed and may have never been doused in chemicals. Some of the plants here today have been planted, but the majority are legacy growth from less polluted times.

Fungi (82)

Alongside mushrooms in this category are lichens (each of which is a symbiotic partner of a fungus and an alga).

Insects (other) (173)

The “(other)” in this category means “other six-legged creatures than butterflies and moths, which themselves are insects”. We expect this category of species to be the one which could expand almost indefinitely the more we look. They are hard to find, but will be here.

Invertebrates (other) (26)

Invertebrates are cold-blooded animals with no backbone. Here you will find centipedes, millipedes, slugs, snails, woodlice and worms. Because spiders and insects are invertebrates but have been included in their own categories, the “(other)” here signifies that this category includes “all cold-blooded animals with no backbone that are not spiders or insects”!

Mammals (6)

With the Cemetery being in an urban setting – and walled – we should not expect there to be many species of mammals to be found.

Non-flowering plants (24)

Non-flowering plants include bracken, mosses, ferns and conifers. (Liverworts and hornworts are also in this category, although we have not yet surveyed for these groups.) As the name suggests, non-flowering plants never produce flowers, although they do produce seeds (or fruit) and spores.

Reptiles (2)

As with the mammals, with the Cemetery being in an urban setting – and walled – we should not expect there to be many species of reptiles to be found.

A note on surveys and identification

Many Friends of Heene Cemetery amateur enthusiast volunteers have played a role in spotting individual species, some whilst deliberately on the lookout, others whilst busy with groundwork. Their dedication continues to drive this project.

We are also indebted to many experts who give freely of their time and expertise, notably the county recorders working with the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre, staff from the Sussex Wildlife Trust, and Sue Denness of the Sussex Botanical Recording Society. More than a dozen subject specialists lend us their support, helping to make this a truly collaborative venture.

A special word of thanks has to go to author and biological scientist Brian Day. His work on structuring species records, and providing detailed cultural and folkloric colour in their descriptions, laid much of the early groundwork of this project.

On-site surveys by a number of these specialists have resulted in many species being added to this list. (Some of these surveys – notably of fungi – have even involved DNA sampling.) Other species have been found by volunteers of the Friends of Heene Cemetery, the more ‘difficult’ of which have been subsequently identified by emailing photographs to the relevant subject specialist. Various caveats apply in the pursuit of avoiding guesswork:

  • If a species cannot be identified fully, but its family is known, we use the “sp.” abbreviation in its Latin name when we include it on the list.
  • If neither the species nor the family is known, but we know that it is, for example, a type of ichneumon wasp, we still do not include it. Without knowing its family, we cannot include it even with the indeterminate species designation of “sp.”.
  • Where identification from either an on-site visit or a photograph is uncertain, the list remains unchanged.
  • Latin names are the baseline for correct species identification, and these are always used here. Where we can, we also apply a common English name, although these may be subject to dispute, especially regionally within the British Isles.
  • Where a fully identified species has no common English name, we may apply a generic version, such as “Housefly – unnamed 1” and “Housefly – unnamed 2”.

Periodically, these records are shared with Caring for God’s Acre, and these are in turn posted to iRecord and the National Biodiversity Network database.

Written by Rob Tomlinson

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