Experimenting with detritivores

Ponerinecat

Arachnoknight
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Went and set a trap for subterranean springtails. Didn't see much during the dig, but heres a newborn neanurid and a pauropod, the third pauropod I've seen this year.
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Kinda want to culture some pauropods, but they're a very rare find and I know nothing about what they need. They look like little centipedes mixed with Caecidotea isopods.
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Ponerinecat

Arachnoknight
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how do you make the springtail traps?
They're more of lures than actual traps. I create an environment that attracts springtails outside. For example, a large group of rotten planks works well when kept constantly moist. Or if you want subterranean springtails, you can bury layers of cardboard a foot or so underground and water the spot.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoking
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How deep have you found springtails? Do they vary a lot with depth?
 

Ponerinecat

Arachnoknight
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then you just scoop them into a container?
I use an aspirator, scooping isn't a very reliable collection method and you miss/kill a lot of the smaller or faster ones.
How deep have you found springtails? Do they vary a lot with depth?
They do. I've only dug down around a foot and 1/4 before, but there were still plenty of springtails under the rocks I found. However springtails are known as the deepest living land animal, with Plutomurus ortobalaganensis being found at 6500 feet below the surface and collected with cheese baits.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoking
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They do. I've only dug down around a foot and 1/4 before, but there were still plenty of springtails under the rocks I found. However springtails are known as the deepest living land animal, with Plutomurus ortobalaganensis being found at 6500 feet below the surface and collected with cheese baits.
I recently found a survey of bacterial diversity with depth that I think went almost all the way down to the bedrock. Someone should do this with springtails and other meiofauna.
 

Ponerinecat

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I recently found a survey of bacterial diversity with depth that I think went almost all the way down to the bedrock. Someone should do this with springtails and other meiofauna.
Bacteria tend to live everywhere though, not sure there would be much diversity at that depth. Complex life thins out dramatically down there.
 

schmiggle

Arachnoking
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Bacteria tend to live everywhere though, not sure there would be much diversity at that depth. Complex life thins out dramatically down there.
True, although you'd be surprised (esp. when it comes to nematodes, fungi, protists, etc.). Bacterial diversity thins out too, but I'd be more interested in the entire gradient, where it thins out, how much biomass at a given depth, etc.
 

Ponerinecat

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Found a very large hypogastrurid springtail under a rock, still a juvenile. I've seen these before, and they're one of the larger springtails here. Will try to collect some more.
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Ponerinecat

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How long do you wait until checking a springtail trap?
It really all depends on the season and age of the trap. A well established trap like the boards I've been managing for 2 years now can be checked once or twice every week. Meanwhile the one I just created for subterranean springtails may take a month or more to become productive enough to dig up. You pretty much won't get a thing in the dry season (if you have one) regardless of how much you water your traps, and in the wet season you don't even need a trap; any pile of leaves or chunk of wood in the wild will do.
 

Ponerinecat

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The entomobrya unostrigata have started laying eggs en masse, which means a pure plaster culture can do well, at least in the short term. Lotta mites on there as well but they don't seem to be harmful so I'll leave them be.
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And I believe the dicyrtominae have bred? Could also be that any juveniles I collected have grown a bit, but even that's pretty good considering my past experiences with these. Sadly the arrhopalitidae have been reduced in population due to a small mold outbreak, but I cleaned that up and theres still a few left, so hopefully they can recover.
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The adult dicyrtominae are gorgeous. You can't see it here, but the markings are dark purple instead of black. The color of the rest of the body is highly variable among this species as well.
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Ponerinecat

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Collected some poduromorphs from under wood today.

A very pudgy Neanura muscorum.
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Juvenile giant neanuridae, not sure what genus.
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A small pseudachorutinae, next to a dicyrtominae juvenile (hopefully the result of captive breeding!)
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Ponerinecat

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Picked up some Tomocerus, some of the largest entomobryomorphs here. They're surprisingly easy to kill, and even weirder, the larger they are the easier they die.

A dead adult, you can see the pronged furca extended. These guys are hard to collect as they constantly flop around until they find shelter when disturbed. Took some time for me to learn how to track their movements.
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A descaled adult (quite a few entomobryomorphs have scales.) The actual body surface is usually cream yellow to golden in color.
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schmiggle

Arachnoking
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larger they are the easier they die.
Do these like it cool? I know with plants that often the larger ones die first if heat stress is the culprit. Not sure if this is related. I have some theories about why that happens, but no really good ones :/
 

Ponerinecat

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Do these like it cool? I know with plants that often the larger ones die first if heat stress is the culprit. Not sure if this is related. I have some theories about why that happens, but no really good ones :/
I'm not sure. They definitely prefer cooler temperatures though so that could definitely be it.
 

Ponerinecat

Arachnoknight
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Entomobrya unostrigata eggs are hatching. You can actually see the eyes in mature eggs, which I find adorable.
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Isotomurus have also bred, but the adults have died off a bit.
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Basically 100% certain the dicyrtominae have bred as well, some of these juveniles are too small to have been collected.
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Also some odd globs with very large eyes, not sure if these are just small dicyrtominae or a different species/genus. They have shorter antennae and a "Y" shaped pattern as well.
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