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280 days of Urbpandemonium #81

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It makes me so happy to know that many of the weird growths, scums, slimes, rusts, and carbuncles that form in nature have known identities. A good deal of them are produced by animals, and while the animals are hard to see, their presence is distinctive. These cherry leaves have formed finger-like projections, each with a tiny opening at one end. Within there are mites, the smallest of arachnids, special to living in cherry leaf galls. These mites are too small to see, but micrographs reveal that they are sausage-shaped, like the mites that live in the follicles of human faces. Weirder still, their legs have degraded from the standard arachnid budget of 8 down by 50%, and those four are gathered down at the animal's head end. Thanks as always to Charley Eiseman for writing the book on inferring invertebrates from their sign, and for confirming my identification of these Eriophyes* sp gall mites.

* "wool growth"

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The Urban Pantheist

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