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Collembola - Sminthurinus atrapallidus

Collembola - Sminthurinus atrapallidus
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
February 7, 2009
Size: ~1mm
Found under piece of bark in the leaf litter. This one is cannibalizing a deceased springtail.

Images of this individual: tag all
Collembola - Sminthurinus atrapallidus Collembola - Sminthurinus atrapallidus Collembola - Sminthurinus atrapallidus Collembola - Sminthurinus atrapallidus


Sminthurinus atrapallidus
A great photographic study of this species, Scott.
(atra refers to the dark body colour, while pallidus refers to the pale appendages (antennae + legs).
I will need to review my previous IDs at Bugguide, now...

BTW, the feeding behaviour is not about cannabalism. Many Collembola are true scavengers. In other words they feed on dead corpses.

These S. atrapallidus are quite a bit smaller than some of the other species that I have been finding. They are very hard for me to see and I'm lucky to have found this one.

As for the scavenging behavior, I guess they use their tiny claws to tear open the skin. I noticed it jerking back and forth as if pulling something apart. Wish I'd had a Canon 5D MK2 camera with it's video capability. It was very interesting to watch.

As always, great images. What a beautiful beast.

Thanks Jeff...
It was surprising to see it working on the dead springtail like it was digging into Thanksgiving dinner.

Spent an hour catching up on your latest pics. Do you want to slow down a little, Scott? I do have a life of my own you know! :)

Is it cannibalizing if it's a different species than its dinner??

I need to take...
a break to work on many other projects! The dead springtail was one of these:

I've just never seen this type of behavior before. Of course I'm no Frans Janssens :^), so it's probably normal.

Isn't the viewfinder great wi
Isn't the viewfinder great with these little guys? It's like having a window onto another world or into a nature special or something, but it's actually happening on the leaf or piece of wood right in front of you.

As for you being no Frans Janssens, well, none of us are either! ('cepting the inimitable Frans himself, of course!)

Ahhh... I was just
out in the shop enjoying the view of another tiny (0.50mm) black globular springtail with light colored eyebrows. It was neat to follow it as it was foraging on a piece of bark that I had left out in the flowerbed. I had unexpectedly found a really cool pseudoscorpion as well! Scanning along a crack in the wood, I saw two crab like claws sticking up :^) Got a few good images of it too before it slipped away.

I think this macro stuff is addicting....hmmmm!

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