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Thursday, April 21, 2016


Mom calls all breathless..."There's some kind of purple bug in the puddle in the garden!""
I hobble over there, with a magnifying glass(made in Occupied Japan), and the new Iphone.
There they lie, in a quivering mat floating in a puddle...teeming...
and so small that even with my glasses, I cannot distinguish an individual.
Under the glass, it's still difficult to single out just one....they are clumped together in the manner of fire ants in a flood.
More seem to be emerging from the soil at the margins of the puddle...but so fast that I cannot be sure.
Worried that this may be the vanguard of some alien invasion {see:( etc} , I take a picture and a video, and send it to Texas A&M's Entomology Department.
They are Springtails....and are one of the most ancient of insects.
So ancient in fact, that they are no longer considered insectivora, at all.
These apparently eat the hyphae of soil fungi, and break down organic they're good guys.
Most of the time, they live out their lives deep in the soil profile. The recent Monsoon-like rains have brought them out.
They were in every puddle that I passed on my way back.
They also are an indicator species, like frogs and such...being particularly intolerant of herbicides.

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