Experimenting with detritivores

The Snark

Dumpster Fire of the Gods
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Oh man, I'd love to see some soil fauna from a different location, even within my own state.
You owe it to yourself to check out some tropical forests - rainforests. Bio-activity diversity is so extreme even within an area of a few hundred feet.
I've got one favorite trip. At the bottom of the mountain, dense jungle of deciduous forest, 5 miles away and almost 3000 feet higher it's pine forest.
 
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Ponerinecat

Arachnoknight
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Ha ha, I'd love that. Locations on my list are mainly around Indonesia and Australia, like NZ and NC (17 mm springtails! Whats not to love.) but pretty much every area on the globe has really cool and unique native fauna.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoking
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As for the slime molds, I still haven't found any large, easily cultured wild species so I may not be growing them for a while and consequently won't be trying any large poduromorphs until I do.
You're probably aware, but just in case--a lot of large slime molds look like fungus fruiting bodies. They can be very common, and I think they're under-researched ecologically. I see Lycogala, Enteridium, and Stemonitis pretty regularly (Lycogala most commonly). That's not to say they're easy to culture, but I also can't imagine that something like Lycogala, which I've seen on wood in my parents' lawn, is so picky that culture is impossible.
 

0001

Arachnopeon
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Wow those slime molds look very nice!
I know nothing about springtails so this is fascinating to me. I saw one white springtail on the spaghnum moss of my carnivorous palnt mini bog but it jumped away too fast for me to catch it.

I did see a youtube video a while ago that reccomended keeping springtails on damp charcoal. Is that for a specific species or would it work for most hardier types?

how did you make/setup your containers?
 

Ponerinecat

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Wow those slime molds look very nice!
I know nothing about springtails so this is fascinating to me. I saw one white springtail on the spaghnum moss of my carnivorous palnt mini bog but it jumped away too fast for me to catch it.

I did see a youtube video a while ago that reccomended keeping springtails on damp charcoal. Is that for a specific species or would it work for most hardier types?

how did you make/setup your containers?
I originally tried those charcoal containers when I first started but it only seems to work very well for the species commonly sold online (Folsomia candida, Sinella curviseta.) None of the other springtails collected locally even bred, and some of them hated the excess moisture and just sat on the highest possible point the entire time. I make my containers by pouring a layer of thick plaster into them and then shaping it into a shelf with my hands.
 

Ponerinecat

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You're probably aware, but just in case--a lot of large slime molds look like fungus fruiting bodies. They can be very common, and I think they're under-researched ecologically. I see Lycogala, Enteridium, and Stemonitis pretty regularly (Lycogala most commonly). That's not to say they're easy to culture, but I also can't imagine that something like Lycogala, which I've seen on wood in my parents' lawn, is so picky that culture is impossible.
Yeah, I don't see those too often here. Stuff that looks likes a film is more common, or maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoking
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Yeah, I don't see those too often here. Stuff that looks likes a film is more common, or maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places.
Am I correct in assuming that EDH is El Dorado Hills? I would expect that you'd find the slime molds with large fruiting bodies after a rain, which in your case means waiting a couple months. They're known to exist in Jasper Ridge biological preserve, so I'd be surprised if you don't have them.
 

0001

Arachnopeon
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How do you provide moisture in the setup and how often?
If I want to collect my own springtails in the area (we have a few small grassy parks nearby) how would I go about that? Would collecting a few handfulls of dirt do?
 

Ponerinecat

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Am I correct in assuming that EDH is El Dorado Hills? I would expect that you'd find the slime molds with large fruiting bodies after a rain, which in your case means waiting a couple months. They're known to exist in Jasper Ridge biological preserve, so I'd be surprised if you don't have them.
Yep, El Dorado Hills. I'll keep a look out, waiting for the first rains anyways as they bring out other life as well.
 

Ponerinecat

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How do you provide moisture in the setup and how often?
If I want to collect my own springtails in the area (we have a few small grassy parks nearby) how would I go about that? Would collecting a few handfulls of dirt do?
Moisture is just provided through mistings, which is not very often as the container condensates most of it's evaporated moisture on a convex lid and then drops it back down. As for collection I actually tend to use an insect aspirator. You can get one and a few collection vials on sites like bioquip or amazon. They're very handy for easily collecting very small animals without hurting them, and I use mine for a lot of taxa. If you're going to collect springtails, also make sure to pad the bottom of the vial with slightly damp paper as cushioning. You can find springtails most anywhere, I collect them by going out on a search in the neighborhood and checking anything that catches the eye. Stones, planks, logs, leaf litter, etc. I've found springtails in the most unexpected places, like out on the sidewalk, in flowers, or on walnuts in the middle of the road. You can also set "traps" by laying down flat rocks or rotted planks/posts on top of dirt and regularly watering them to keep them moist. Just check every week or so and you'll get some interesting stuff, not only springtails. You could also sample some dirt from a particularly fertile area. This will almost always get you a few species of springtails if the dirt is damp and full of organic material, but for many others targeted collection is one of the only ways.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoking
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Yep, El Dorado Hills. I'll keep a look out, waiting for the first rains anyways as they bring out other life as well.
Good luck! I've only ever found Stemonitis on fallen logs without bark and Enteridium on standing, mostly intact-looking trees. Lycogala is very un-picky, but tends to grow on logs with a diameter of at least 5 or 6 inches.
 

Ponerinecat

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A second Isotomurus species, darker, smaller, and stubbier. These are very hard to photograph as they die easily during collection and are constantly jumping once disturbed.
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And some snout mites. these are actually predatory, nice looking little balls.
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schmiggle

Arachnoking
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Ponerinecat

Arachnoknight
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You're not afraid of the snout mites eating your springtails?
Honestly, considering how fast the springtails I have rn breed, no. They'll just be pop control if they can even survive on plaster, ha ha. Predators would be more of a problem with species that are sensitive and hard to keep alive, like any future globs.
 

Bob Lee

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Gonna throw in my two cents... I have a specie of springtail I colelcted with my termites, they seem to thrive on wood along and are the only surviving creatures on my pile of wood from the forest. I find them to be quite good at doing spingtail things like eating mold and garbage.
I also keep surinam roaches which are just great at eating larger pieces of organic matter, they seem to eat almost anything even the cardboards I throw in as hide, they don't seem too interested in boiled beef though.
 

Ponerinecat

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Gonna throw in my two cents... I have a specie of springtail I colelcted with my termites, they seem to thrive on wood along and are the only surviving creatures on my pile of wood from the forest. I find them to be quite good at doing spingtail things like eating mold and garbage.
I also keep surinam roaches which are just great at eating larger pieces of organic matter, they seem to eat almost anything even the cardboards I throw in as hide, they don't seem too interested in boiled beef though.
Ah, that sounds like cyphoderidae or Lepidocyrtus. Those are often found with ants and termites.
 

Ponerinecat

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Entomobrya unostrigata showing off that distinctive cross pattern.
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Sinella curviseta doing their thing.
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Ponerinecat

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But the other species in that picture is so much prettier! Elegant and cute. Probably hard to ID though lol
Which one? The 2 greys are both unostrigata, white is Sinella curviseta, small bluish ones are Lepidocyrtus.
 
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