Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, May 17, 2009

More creatures from the rotten logs of Robertson

Following up the last post about Bob's Millipede search, here are some (few) other creatures we found while conducting that search.

Inevitably some were too fast for me to get images of, including some nice greenish Centipedes, which do not stay put for anybody. Clearly I would have needed a collecting bucket or similar to have held them in, temporarily, in order to get some kind of image. Some other time perhaps. (A good pair of gloves would be handy too, for them.)

I did manage to get a snap of this nice little golden Centipede, before it woke up to the fact that it was free to go - at which point it departed the scene, rapidly.Here is a two-image shot of a large shiny Ground Beetle. There were many such beetles living in these large rotten logs on the ground in the wet forests.
Left image is underneath side of the live beetle.
Right is top view (just before it scampered off).
Bob took some precautions (gloves) with this guy,
because of the very powerful jaws.
A large black beetle.
This is a Beetle larva (2 images)
Six tiny legs are clearly visible on the front end.
Speed is obviously not a great requirement for these larvae
when crawling around inside rotten logs.
I believe these are "Collembola" - "Springtails", which are apparently related to Crustaceans
(although their body shape does not resemble traditional crustaceans to my eyes.
But I am not an entomologist - or whatever students of Crustaceans are called.)
For some reason, I find these tiny creatures quite cute. I have seen similar creatures (Proturans) living inside fungi previously.

One of the most impressive creatures we saw was this huge Earwig (twice the size of common garden Earwigs). Its "cerci" (its tail appendages, incorrectly assumed to be "pincers") were very formidable. Its bright orange legs presumably have a warning-symbol function, as well as a very practical function of carrying around this relatively large Earwig. It has large antennae. Turning to another "Order" completely, here is a very fine Earthworm specimen. It is NOT the Giant Earthworm which I have seen just near where this specimen was found. But just a very healthy specimen of large earthworm. The Giant Earthworms live very deep in the basalt soil. This worm was in a rotten log.Here are two "Flat Worms" - which differ from the one above in not being "segmented worms".
This one is a lime green colour - with brown lines along its sides.This is a creamy coloured Flat Worm, also with brown stripes.Here is a very fat little Red Velvet Mite. Tiny, and almost "comical" in appearance - to my eyes, but probably not to what ever smaller creature it wants to eat.
Here is a golden silverfish. Not silver. Not a fish. Cute, but determined to not stay out in the sunlight for long. This is a triple image - a composite. Another dweller of the soupy environment of rotten logs.And just to show that some "higher order" creatures also live in this rotted log environment, here is a tiny Skink - a reptile, one of the few vertebrates to make its home in here assuming you discount the local Wombats (which burrow under the rotted logs, instead of living within them, as this fellow does).I believe this is one of those Lizards known as "Three-toed Skinks" - which are famous for being ground-dwellers, by which I mean burrowing lizards. See this quote:"when unearthed [the three-toed skink] thrashes violently, trying to burrow back in the ground." and he's spot on".
Indeed, I have seen these creatures on my block when I first moved to Robertson, when I was doing things like moving rocks out of the way, prior to building my house and garden. I make a habit of not moving rocks now, so as to not disturb my invisible neighbours - the "Three-toed Skinks". They wriggle like snakes, because their legs are so reduced in size and functionality (see the tiny front foot) that they are all but useless for propulsion. But the little Skink can (and did) twist and squirm its way out of my hands, and back into the rotten log, where it felt safe.


mick said...

Still very interesting - but I have decided I'll read about them on your blog rather than look for them myself!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
Do I detect an aversion to "creepie-crawlies?
I must admit to an aversion to Leeches (of which we saw a few), but they were mostly asleep. In warmer climates, or in summer months, I suspect I would have been like a bad advertisement for the Blood Bank.