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Tales from the woodpile #4

June 28, 2014

DSCN7359Well, it is that time of the year again. The mercury has plummeted to single digits overnight (almost hitting zero already) and regular pilgrimages to the woodpile begin for another year. Last year we discovered a whole range of critters in the woodpile when splitting logs. This year is no different.

Last year Ms Bark Cockroach (Laxta granicollis) was found hiding in the narrow splits in the logs and featured on this blog. This year Mr Bark Cockroach (pictured above) has put in an appearance. The male is just as flat but the obvious difference is that it has wings.

DSCN8645Interestingly, the logs are now the substrate for many species of fungi. This mushroom (Mycena sp.) growing out of a Long-leaved Box (Eucalyptus goniocalyx) log was covered in six-legged invertebrates known as Springtails (click on the photo right for a larger image). Last month we featured an article on grey aquatic Springtails that spend their lives on or in water – in particular in the bucket of rainwater beneath our eaves. These red mushroom dwellers are terrestrial Springtails. There are several species of springtails that are red. To tell them apart, you have to check out the length of the legs and antennae and the configuration of the body segments. But by the time I had raced back to the house, picked up the microscope and raced back, the springtails had moved on.

I can’t wait to see what the woodpile turns up next week.

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