Monday, February 08, 2010

Tom's Bugs

This image first appeared in a post entitled "We can Never Escape Nature"

Central Ohio finally got hit with a snow event last Friday and Saturday, and it looks like we'll be in for another tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday. I'm in my mid-winter doldrums, and I need something to drive my writings here. What better way to do that than to write about a project that I began last "bug season". And if the name wasn't already taken, I might call it the backyard arthropod project. How about Tom's Bugs? I photographed as many arthropods in our yard as possible- and slowly I've been uploading them to for help with identification. What I learned from this ongoing project is that there are tons of really cool things right in my own yard, things that not even experts can identify with decent photographs.

So let's start with the creature pictured at top. You may remember these images from last summer. What an interesting little creature? I really had no idea what it was. I thought this would be a tough one for the folks at Bug Guide. And although there was a little discussion about which species this creature was, the identity was flushed out quickly and resolutely.

What the heck is this thing? It's one of the globular springtails, species Bourletiella hortensis, and it even has a common name, the garden springtail. What a great common name, as I photographed these tiny tiny creatures on the wooden edges of my raised vegetable garden. Isn't this a fascinating creature? Apparently, springtails are no longer considered insects, but I'm not exactly sure where they fall in line with other arthropods, and it seems as if there are quite a few theories out there, but no real consensus. Look for more new creatures to come soon, I found a myriad of creatures in our yard this summer.

Bourletiella hortensis, the garden springtail. The board is around 3/4" wide for scale, the thing much larger then them is a chunk of soil.



  1. A lot of my macrophotography is done right in my yard. A surprising amount with 10 feet of my house. Once you get the "macro" eye working you find critters everywhere.

  2. Tom-

    Great shot, thank you for solving the mystery of those little critters. I have heard of springtails- but until now, never had seen one.

    You the Macro-man!

  3. Great shots. Yes, to find adventure & exploration, one merely needs to check out one's own yard. ;)

  4. Shog- Yep, mine too, I've got thousands of images that I need to make my way through.

    Cheryl- I'm interested to see if you find any of these on your adventures, they're tiny but they stand out if you are a weedpicker like yourself.

    Lana- Yep, you are right. Nasty bruise story on your blog today BTW, I hope that clears up!