This little critter is a globular springtail (Dicyrtomina saundersi). At about 2mm long, it’s a tiny member of the garden wildlife fraternity. You can’t see it clearly in this image but it has a hairy behind, illustrated in the otherwise terrible shot below.
Before macro photography took its hold on me, I didn’t know these little beasts existed. They aren’t even insects. And there are loads of them, everywhere. The shot below is of a raft of assorted springtails that I found floating in a pink bucket outside the back door. I think there are 32 individuals here. Thanks to the springtail experts on Flickr, I can identify many of them:
There are also a couple of psocids (bark flies), which I have photographed before.
I discovered that buckets of water are often fatal because springtails, so named because of the way they leap, are unable to choose the direction of their spring. If they end up in deep water they can become trapped by meniscus effect and die. Of course, I rescued my models (how could I not after they posed so nicely) and released them onto some leaf litter.
Now that my eye is learning to spot ever smaller garden beasts, I also found this little alien, a plant hopper nymph. Odd little thing, again no more than 2mm.
But if you google planthopper nymph, and select images, you will quickly see that this little fella doesn’t even merit an honourable mention in the roll call of strangeness.
For these images I have used my macro lens and cropped in but to get decent detail with something this small, I really need to get closer than 1:1. Canon do a nifty lens that gets you as much as 5x magnification, although I gather it is a tricky thing to use. I don’t have one but I do have my trusty, and inexpensive Raynox, so for the next garden safari, I will bring it along.
Back to Australia tomorrow.