Thursday, 12 January 2012

I've got bugs!

The white snow, with deer tracks,
and bugs gather at the low spot
on a mild winter's day.
Bug on camera, I mean!

In summer we have wonderful green trees, leaves, brightly coloured flowers, but in winter it gets pretty monotone.

We've had a warm spell, with above freezing temperatures. It feels like April, truly.

Lots of dirty, white melting snow.
Lots of little black snow fleas!

They are incredibly difficult to photograph. This is my attempt #2!

snow flea in the macro lens
This photography is harder than it looks!

 
Look at the size of it on my dirty thumbnail!

Yes, they serve a purpose!

Hard to believe their size.


Snow fleas
(Hypogastrura harveyi and Hypogastrura nivicola) are species of springtail. They spring about on snow on plus zero days like today. They are really a dark blue colour, about 1 - 2 mm long. With no wings, they spring about on the snow by a catapult: two tail-like furcula on their lower abdomen.
They have short antennae, and have two eye clusters (with 16 eyes in each). (Check out both links for better close-ups than mine! But they are creepy in macro!)
They have a purpose: they eat decaying organics as well as bacteria, fungi, algae, pollen, round worms and rotifers.
In spring they mate, females lay eggs, the nymphs molt a few times and by winter they are adults.
Snow Fleas, and other springtails, include: beetles, ants, mites, centipedes, chiggers, salamanders, and other small insect-eaters. (Didn't notice any on my walkabout!)

5 comments:

Sallie (FullTiime-Life) said...

The post title certainly caught my eye ;>).

They have those fleas -- or something like them -- in Eastern Washington (we used to have family there). Once I took a walk and ended up with a zillion of them stuck in my white hair...looked like I'd poured pepper on myself.

Sallie (FullTiime-Life) said...

The post title certainly caught my eye ;>).

They have those fleas -- or something like them -- in Eastern Washington (we used to have family there). Once I took a walk and ended up with a zillion of them stuck in my white hair...looked like I'd poured pepper on myself.

Kay L. Davies said...

Amazing! They don't hang out on cats and dogs, then? I was forever combing fleas off my cats when I lived on the west coast, where winters are usually mild. Here on the prairie, we don't have them. Although maybe we have snow fleas. I don't know.

Red said...

I really like to show people snow fleas. People just do not believe you until they see them. We only see them in the spring.
Well don and on a topic that needs publicity.

Kay said...

Wow! You really have an amazing macro lens. Those are such clear photos. I've never heard of snow fleas. I'm glad I don't have to deal with them.