Soft-bodied creatures, with an excess of legs have been puzzling me for some time. I do not even know how to begin to classify this tiny creature. The term "insects" does not fit, for a mere 6 legs would appear to be boring, to these little guys. On my counting, this creature has 10 pairs of legs, plus two large "palps" (or similar feeding devices) on its front end. This is the best I can do with this image, before pixellation causes distortion. (Click to enlarge to maximum size.) The little creature was quite active, as you can see from how it changed angles, over a few seconds.
I went to the Australian Faunal Directory, and looked for creatures with 20 legs, but was no closer to an answer after hours of scouring through Webpages. Part of my problem is I do not know if this creature is a "larval stage" of something else which might be more familiar if I saw it in its adult stage. I am thinking here of how Ladybird (beetles) look nothing like their larval stages, or indeed caterpillars and moths.
Here is the creature in situ, on the bark of a "Scribbly Gum", to give a sense of scale, to any Aussie Nature lovers. It is about real size on my screen, when not 'blown up" to higher resolution.
I added the title "Larva" for want of any better name.I am not even sure if this creature meets the definition of an "arthropod" for it ought have a "hard exoskeleton (doubtful), a body divided into segments (yes) and jointed legs (doubtful - certainly flexible, but "jointed" - not sure.)"
Now that I have been linking up with other Nature Bloggers in Australia, I am hoping for some words of wisdom from more experienced naturalists or even some taxonomists. Perhaps Christopher Taylor might be able to help, or Mosura, who seems to know his way around a microscope, or Junior Lepid, or any of my other new-found friends and colleagues. I would be happy to get to within a "Class" or "Order" - but this Berkeley University website on the Tree of Life tells me that even in that aspiration I am trying to apply out-of-date science.