Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Who lives in the birdhouse in winter?

I went outside the other night, to look for moths for my latest captive spider, and on a whim, brought in the birdhouse that has been housing cattail fluff, just to see what is happening on and in it. After the recent rains, it was probably growing fungi, maybe another crop of the slime mold I found a year ago last March.

No. Wrong time of year, probably. But there were a few patches of a white fibrous mass, and many tiny yellowish "thumbtacks".

The large yellow circles are about the size of a pinhead.

But what is that little thing at the bottom left? It looks like it has legs.

I examined the whole birdhouse with a magnifying glass. Eventually, I saw movement:

A globular springtail.

He was racing along, and I soon lost him down a crack. But I found another, peacefully grazing:

Dicyrtomina ornata, I think. Isn't he cute?

Rear view, and the reason for my tentative ID

Looking for info and ID, tonight, I found some amazing photos of these; a whole album of springtails, by Brian Valentine, and with comments and ID by Frans Janssens. And here's a slideshow by Krister Hall; just beautiful!

After looking over those, I was tempted to scrap my blurry photos. But I didn't; I inflicted them on you, instead. Now, go on over to Flickr and delight your eyes.


  1. Wow...very interesting....I havent really ever studied bugs...i sometimes stop and look at ones that i can see with the naked eye..I will stay tuned for more buggy adventures on your blog..

  2. Hello, I am a new reader of your blog, really enjoy it! Thank you.

    Great Macro pictures and finding! I came across these critters on my walks too but don't know where to begin to search for their identity. Turns out they aren't really insects too. Neat!

  3. "... buggy adventures ..." :)

    PSYL, These tiny ones are really difficult to identify, but BugGuide is a great source, and you can always send them a photo for an ID. Sometimes, they have an answer for me overnight.


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