Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Gifts From the Woods

Hello, welcome to my last overdue update post!
Well, as the title says, my local woods have given me some very interesting arthropods recently!
The species that started a seemingly coincident trail of new discoveries was Orchesella villosa. While out in my local Edgebrook Woods collecting large pieces of bark for an undisclosed reason(saving that for the next post 😏) I happened to uncover maybe five of these monsters. I immediately noticed they were huge for springtails(around 4 mm and very bulky) and was able to snag two of them. While taking pictures of them, I witnessed some very interesting, almost territorial behavior, one came up to the other and engaged in a little "head pushing". I admittedly don't know much about social behavior in springtails, but I'm pretty sure most specie don't do this. lol Before offering them up for trade to a certain enthusiast who was very interested in them, I went and checked if I could find more. First, I checked back by the spot that I had originally found a few at, no luck. Next, I checked under some moist leaf litter and rotten wood on that same side of the woods(the parking lot divides the two sides), again I came up empty handed. Then, finally, I decided to take a look under some of the moist leaf litter on the other side.......bingo!!! I discovered that they were actually abundant there and was able to collect another eleven, leaving me with a grand total of thirteen! I will likely be trading this group off, but I'll be collected some for myself soon, I'm definitely interested in keeping these gigantic, furry, and plump guys!
Here's a couple pics(territorial behavior can be seen in the second one)!

These were followed by another slightly smaller, yet more beautiful species of springtail, Tomocerus minor. I happened to find a good amount of these guys in an old bag of rotten wood that had been sitting in my basement since I collected it about four months ago. Now, I was initially pretty interested in culturing these guys, but apparently they are trickier than other species and seem to prefer eating algae(which can be provided in the form of fish food algae, something that I don't have and can't really afford right now). Even though they are certainly greater in beauty than O.villosa with their rainbow colored sheen, they are also way less bulky, slightly shorter(in length), and way more skittish than their counterparts.
Even though I won't be attempting to culture this species right now, I still figured I's share a couple photos!

And last but not least, introducing the last small wonder that my local woods has provided me with, Necrophila americana the American carrion beetle! I , quite oddly, found one individual of this handsome species under some moist leaf litter. It was either trying to overwinter there or get to a rotting pigeon carcass that was about forty feet away from where it was found. I was just going to release the beetle, but the same enthusiast that I mentioned earlier in the post also showed a lot of interest in the species, so I held onto it and went to check the carcass for some more a few days later. Much to my dismay, my "bait" for these beetles had been stolen away by some dreaded woodland scavenger. ☹ Despite this, what the enthusiasts is offering for them is too good not to try and collect more, so I will likely be setting out my own bait this time in the form of rotten watermelon, which this species seems to go crazy for! Wish me luck! 😄
Anyway, here are a few photos of the beauty.

Adult N.americana
Throughout this post I have been referencing a loaded trade that I may be completing soon and if everything goes as I'm hoping it will, I'll be introducing some rare and intriguing new species to you guys, so definitely keep an eye out for that. So that pretty much does it for my overdue updates and if you'd like, you can meet up with me again at my next post, goodbye!

1 comment:

  1. I usually see your posts via my e-mail, Joshua, but can't reply or comment there so I came here to tell you that I really enjoy your blog. Today was especially interesting. I know you know this but you make me so proud of your knowledge about insects. God only knows what secrets are yet to be discovered in the insect world (a cure for something perhaps?). Love you! Grandma