Readers’ wildlife photos

Let me put out another call for wildlife photos, as the tank is getting too low for my liking (I still have a backlog, so if your pix haven’t yet appeared, no worries.)

Tony Eales in Oz has sent us a batch of small but lovely arthropods. His comments and IDs are indented. The last photo is a mystery to him (and me), so readers are welcome to ID it.

The weather is warming up here down under and the creepy crawlies are coming out. I thought I’d send a collection of the more out of the ordinary beasties I’ve photographed. The first one is a Diplura—one of the non-insect hexapod orders. This one is in the Japygidea family and at first I thought it was some sort of unpigmented earwig. Convergent evolution makes things confusing.

Next an actual earwig (Order Dermaptera), no idea about the family. This one was tiny, around 6mm, found in leaf litter.

The next is a Poduromorpha, one of the three main groups of springtails and definitely the cutest: only about a millimetre.

Next is a juvenile springtail of the common sort I find in the group Entomobryomorpha.

And I finally found a Symphypleona springtail, the last of the three main groups of springtails. These are really tiny, around or less than a millimetre.

Then something I initially identified as a juvenile centipede but found out is in fact a completely different Class, a Symphyla or “garden centipede”, not closely related to centipedes at all but still within the Myriapod subphylum.

Just the other day I found within a rotting log in a rainforest a Beaky Millipede Siphonophorida. At first I thought it might be a Velvet Worm, which is my dream to photograph, but it’s still a strange and obscure order of the larger millipede class.

Another little observed but common order of millipedes is the tiny Polyxenida or pincushion millipedes. There’s one suburban location where I regularly get hundreds in my leaf litter samples. They’re at most about 3mm long and surprisingly fast.

Lastly is something that turned up in the leaf litter and I just don’t know what it is. Ideas?


  1. Posted November 28, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Woa. I am pretty excited about these pictures. I will be back later but I wanted to here suggest that the mystery myriapod is a Paurapod:

    • tjeales
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Good suggestion Mark, I’ll look into it. Thanks

      • tjeales
        Posted November 29, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Seems not. Paurapods always have branched antenna. I’m thinking it’s likely a very young millipede maybe one of the pincushion millipedes that were common in that leaf litter.

  2. Christopher
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Those are lovely! It is a heartbreaking reminder that I missed my calling in life, to study the mighty minuscule hordes of the world. Thanks for sharing.

    • Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Anyone can be a student of the microcosm without making it their vocation. That is pretty much what I do with our shared interest. An inexpensive camera can be adapted to take good close up pictures, and it can be used to explore the alien world that is literally outside your door.

  3. Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I especially like the globular springtail! That is a kind of critter that I have not yet seen that I know about. Thank you for sharing these.

    • tjeales
      Posted November 29, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Yes I was pretty excited. I really need to get back to sifting through leaf litter with my newer camera rig.

  4. Posted November 28, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    It amazes me sometimes the diversity, beauty and weirdness of life but mostly what amazes me is how much of it is right underfoot. Monsters and beauties in leaf litter.

  5. pablo
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I loathe earwigs. While I was in West Africa, I had them rain down on me one day. It was the first rainy day of the wet season and I heard a thwap. I thought maybe it was rain getting through the thatched roof, but when I looked down I didn’t see a wet spot, but an earwig. I heard a couple of more thwaps and it was more earwigs. I looked up at the ceiling of my hut and it was covered in earwigs, who proceeded to rain down en masse. I had them in my hair. It was awful. That was 20 years ago and I still get creeped out by damn things.

    • Mark R.
      Posted November 28, 2017 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Yikes! That is harrowing. I doubt another 20 years will alleviate your squirmishness with earwigs. :0

    • Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      Reminds me of one time when I felt something cool on my neck and found some sort of slime or a millipede-like creature (I didn’t get a good enough look). I threw it away immediately, of course, but I couldn’t find where it was after that. It caused a pretty itchy swollen line on my neck after a few minutes, which lasted a week or so.

  6. Mark R.
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I always enjoy your detritus dwellers. Thanks for the great submission.

  7. Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Thabks for the pics, they look very interesting!

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