A louse by any other name

insect on grass

Continuing my campaign to convince certain people that bugs can be pretty, here are two images of a psocid, commonly known as a bark louse.  Psocids are very small, and easily overlooked.  This little louse was the star of a post way back in Autumn 2012, but for some reason I omitted these pictures that time.  As ever with my insect photography, the images are as much about the background as the bug itself.


Little nymphs

Is this not a cute little thing? This is a psocid nymph, pottering about on a dogwood leaf. These are so small you hardly notice them, unless you spend a ridiculously long time staring at leaves, risking ridicule or at least benign amusement from your family.

This little nymph has a parasite in its belly, which I understand is very common for these little critters. But if you ignore the parasite, it tones quite prettily with its colourful Autumn environment. Perhaps that’s just me…

Pretty in yellow

bark louse

Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  But to me this little yellow psocid, hanging out against a complimentary background, is a thing of beauty.

bark louse

Its common name is rather less attractive – it is a bark louse.

bark louse

Unlike its relatives who live as pests in the home, this critter eats organic matter in the garden and really isn’t interested in coming indoors.  It is very small indeed, about the size of a garden ant.

bark louse

Psocids in the garden are often mistaken for aphids, but they can be distinguished by their large jaws, resembling those of crickets, and long antennae.   If you can squint closely enough.  Really, these details can only be noticed with the aid of a macro lens, or a magnifying glass.

bark louse

I took far too many shots of this little critter.  I need just one for a panel I am working on.  Which do you like best?