Readers’ wildlife photos

How about some small soil arthropods today? Tony Eales from Australia sent these, and his notes are indented:

So my latest thing has been sifting through leaf litter looking for likely wee creepy crawlies to photograph. Unfortunately these little blighters are right at the limits of my cheap macro-setup. Anyway, denizens of the leaf litter include these:

There’s beetles like this Rove Beetle Astenus guttulus:

Bugs like this cute Schizopterid bug aka Jumping Soil Bug:

Bark Lice or Psocoptera, their big heads remind me somewhat of cows:

Thrips, Thysanopthera. I found out that thrips is not the plural of thrip, there’s one thrips in the photo or you might see two thrips or 100 thrips.

Springtails, Collembola, were the most common find. I’d never seen one before delving into the leaf litter.

Same with the Two-pronged Bristletail, Diplura, which were also pretty common. These are Hexapods but have been split out of the insects and are now in their own class, Entognatha, along with Proturas which I’ve yet to find.

Getting away from the six-leg plan, there were Soil Centipedes (Geophilomorpha) and Tropical Centipedes (Scolopendromorpha), Isopods, and of course Arachnids.

Soil centipede:

Tropical centipede:


The commonest were Mites in the group Trombidiformes.


And of course loads of diverse spiders. I’ll leave them for now as there were so many, but I’ll put in my favourite one of the so-called Ant SpidersHabronestes sp.:



  1. Neil Faulkner
    Posted August 6, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    I’m barely familiar with British isopods, let alone Australian ones, but the one in the photo looks like Philoscia muscorum, which might be an introduction from Europe.

    Any old excuse to get the first comment in…

  2. Posted August 6, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I think that isopod is left without one leg to stand on.

  3. Posted August 6, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    “How about some small soil arthropods today?”
    Yes, please! Num num num num num.
    These are still great pictures with your cheap set-up. What lens set up do you use?

    • tjeales
      Posted August 6, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      The basic Sigma lens that came with my Canon EOS 450D but I used extension tubes to turn it into a macro lens. Extension tubes are around $10 online. I’ve recently upgraded to a Raynox 150 snap-on macro converter and I kinda wish I’d started with this. It’s on;y about $50 Australian and is superior to the extension tubes in ease of use and quality.

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 6, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Very interesting. I see so many diverse flies insects. Just filling 3 of my 4 gallon containers to car inside for fish tank water yesterday, I saw a really neat fly that was tiny & had long antennae. Every time I go out there, I see lots of interesting creatures as I crouch in the grass, waiting for the containers to fill.

  5. rickflick
    Posted August 6, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Some of those creatures, especially, I think, the centipedes, look like they belong to an earlier time and place…say 400 million years ago.

  6. Jenny Haniver
    Posted August 6, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I concur with the others who’ve commented. These are very interesting creatures and you may disparage your “cheap macro set-up” these are photos worth looking at and learning from. I rarely see anything about springtails and bristletails, so nice to see examples here.

  7. samitchell79
    Posted August 6, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Nice work dude!! Most excellent photographs!!

  8. Heather Hastie
    Posted August 6, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I too agree with everyone else. These are great.

    The only problem I have is that the ones on the white background are hard to judge size because I know nothing about them. Next time, could you please assist me out of my ignorance by putting a ruler in the pic if possible?

    • tjeales
      Posted August 6, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      The thrips is right on the limit of what I can photograph, it’s about 0.5mm. The bug, bark lice and mites are around 2mm. The others are larger, the rove beetle is still small at around 5mm but the centipedes,isopod and spider are all easily seen with the naked eye.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted August 6, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that!

  9. Mark R.
    Posted August 6, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Very cool! The diversity of arthropods in the leaf litter is amazing.

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