I was hungering for something green, something wet, something alive and slithery. So, at the end of another day hopping from store to store, I went out in the rain and gathered a few tufts of moss; tiny will do; let my camera do the walking.
|Green and wet.|
The moss was beautiful, glowing translucently under my light, the spiky leaves green at the top, a rich brown beneath. Underneath, where the moss still held remnants of soil, a couple of miniature slugs were sleeping. Disturbed, they woke and stretched, heading for new cover. At their full length, neither was more than a half inch long.
When I pulled the largest clump of moss apart, I exposed a cozy nest.
|Slug eggs, almost as big as the slug diameters.|
|A closer view, trying to distinguish features of the developing slugs inside. No luck.|
Apart from the slugs, their eggs, and one tiny earthworm (so tiny he crawled into my eyedropper), the only other visible animals were black springtails, from pinhead size on down to mere visibility, racing and hopping around. I found one stopped for a breather.
Under a good lens, I found more animals: a little black snail, barely a pinprick to the naked eye once I knew where to look for it; another earthworm, identifiable as such only under the microscope, and a few slow-moving, beautiful, shiny, deep red mites. I took photos, but they show only red-black spots with a hint of legs along the edge.
This different mite was about twice their size:
It has eight legs, but holds the first two high in front, like antennae. And it looks like it's carrying at least one, maybe two smaller mites on its back. Babies? Or parasites? Maybe they'll know at BugGuide. I'll ask.