Friday, 22 November 2013

Feeling itchy?! I've got fleas!

Springtails on snow Jan. 2012

It's been a heavy month of Canadian politics, municipal and federal. Today, the date 50 years ago, when Kennedy was assassinated. I go outdoors and play with my camera, in nature, for perspective, for healing, to relax in fresh air.
I've even begun decorating for the season! As a retired teacher, a thematic approach in decor calls me!

Just because the nights are below zero ( 32F.), doesn't mean there isn't action in the goldfish pond!

As with all my blogging fun, it is a challenge to capture them digitally.

There was a skiff of ice on the goldfish pond, and I spotted the little critters sliding about. I knew what they were right away!

The young goldfish, the ones that chose NOT to come indoors for winter, were up at the surface the other day, on a very cold day. It caught my attention.

Snow fleas are unusual, in that most of the insects disappear in winter, hiding in comfort under the snow, resting until the snow begins to melt and boys and girls begin to get frisky in the.
O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind? 
                                ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

snow fleas from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
It was a cold one yesterday. The pond has been freezing and thawing depending upon the day. I went out, thinking I might throw the fish some food, but it appears that the snow fleas have called a meeting on the top of the pond. I wondered what they were after at the water surface.

 Snow fleas (Hypogastrura harveyi and Hypogastrura nivicola) 

You can see that I'm still learning
the ins and outs of macrophotography!
They are species of springtail. They spring about on snow, gather in melt water. 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).

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.


DeniseinVA said...

I have never heard of these critters before. Fascinating little things.

Hilary said...

New to me, also. But fascinating. You did a great job with the macro shots and video.

Christine said...

I didn't know about snow fleas, interesting!

Al said...

I'm always surprised how the fish can survive a cold winter. But they do!

eileeninmd said...

I have not heard of snow fleas either. Thanks for sharing, hope you have a happy weekend!

Red said...

It's really weird to find snow fleas very active on top of the snow. they must be cyclical as i only see them once every few years. Here we see them in the spring.

Judy said...

Now I know what they are...

Kay said...

I've never heard of snow fleas. This is so interesting. I hope they don't bite.