Anyhow, as promised I've started looking at some of the tinier invertebrates found in our firewood store - by tinier I mean below 2mm but still visible (just) with the naked eye. I have quite a few still to look at, but the first is a springtail (Collembola) which despite its small size can be identified without a microscope if you have good close-up vision.
|A springtail - the head is to the right and the 'spring' is out of frame to the left.|
As I mentioned above, I've only just started looking at the smaller residents of our wood store and I'm sure there are other sub-2mm specimens I'll be able to identify. However, along the way I found a couple of other interesting species, a little larger at 3-4mm.
|An unusual creature - very flat with short wing-buds. Also note the pattern of red spots near the rear end. The overall colour and pattern provide excellent camouflage on bark and among lichen and plant material.|
|The 2nd and 3rd antennal segments are the same length. Note also the spines either side of the rostrum and the red eyes.|
|A close-up of the midline of the dorsal surface showing tiny pinkish tubercles (bumps) and other sculpturing.|
|A barklouse with short, hairy/scaly wings and long antennae. The bulging eyes suggest it is a male.|
And so, we have some more species from our wood pile - it is turning out to be a local biodiversity hot-spot! It's time for the weekend to start now, but I should return soon with Part 4 of this series and hopefully more on the tinier residents.
Hopkin, S.P. (2007). A Key to the Collembola (Springtails) of Britain and Ireland. FSC, Shrewsbury.
New, T.R. (2005). Psocids. Psocoptera (Booklice and Barklice). RES Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects 1(7): 1-146.
Southwood, T.R.E. & Leston, D. (1959). Land & Water Bugs of the British Isles. Warne, London.