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The Climatic Significance of a Late Quaternary Insect Fauna from Rodbaston Hall, Staffordshire, England

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image of Insect Systematics & Evolution

Abstract An insect fauna of 318 taxa, mainly beetles, is described from kettle hole deposits at Rodbaston Hall, Staffordshire. Pollen stratigraphy together with a radiocarbon age of 10,670 years B.P. suggest that sedimentation commenced in the Late-glacial and continued until recent times. The coleopterous fauna, the first of its size to be described from a continuous sequence through the transition between Late- and Post-glacial deposits, contains 18 species which no longer live in the British Isles. The fauna is largely composed of eurythermal species but there is an element which has strong boreal affinities at the present day and another group, the members of which by comparison have relatively southern distributions. The northern and southern groups occur as more or less distinct units within the deposit and their distribution is thought to be largely thermally controlled. The age of the silts, the first sediments to be deposited in the hollow is not known. They could have formed in either Older Dryas or Allerød time but they contain in part a thermophilous Coleoptera assemblage which may indicate a warmer climate than that which revails at Rodbaston now. By comparison, the gyttja, which was deposited in Younger Dryas time, contains a fauna similar to that of present day northern Scandinavia and indicates a more extreme thermal environment than is found anywhere in Britain at the present day. A very marked faunal change was observed between the Late- and Post-glacial episodes, and it is thought to indicate a rapid amelioration with the possibility that summer temperatures rose 6°C in a period of 100 to 150 years on the basis of radiocarbon dating.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geology, University of Birmingham1


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