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280 days of Urbpandemonium #222

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I'm currently using a second-hand point and shoot camera with a passable macro feature--and here I've put a hand lens in front of it in an attempt to visualize a very small animal.

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The animal is a globular springtail (Order Symphypleona*), less than a millimeter long. These charismatic relatives of insects walk about grazing on edible particles, but can jump away suddenly with a lighting-quick flex of their springy appendage, the furcula. Because their predators are also very small and necessarily nearsighted animals, this escape method is virtually teleportation.

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This pair of springtails may be eating mold spores growing on the surface of this damp moss. Their surprisingly complex behavior is explored on the BBC series Life in the Undergrowth.


*New Latin symphy- (from Greek symphyēs grown together) + -pleona (from Greek plein to swim

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
darkest_diary
Dec. 27th, 2015 12:37 am (UTC)
They look a bit like bark bugs to me. I wonder if they are related.
urbpan
Jan. 2nd, 2016 11:43 pm (UTC)
Not too related. Similar size and lifestyle, convergent evolution.
drhoz
Jan. 1st, 2016 02:36 am (UTC)
Sminthurid, isn't it?
urbpan
Jan. 2nd, 2016 11:43 pm (UTC)
I couldn't id it to that level with confidence this time
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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