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When I was far younger I met two artists who were expert medical graphic artists and learned how important someone with good art skills and scientific education can be for sharing knowledge with others.  Were I in a different place in my life at the time, I would have gladly changed my career to go this route, even though there were few places I could have had advanced training.  Now there are exciting career paths as well for those who can work with x-ray, diagnostic imaging, research tools and video, especially 3D modeling.  Just take a peak at this video to see a remarkable example!  It starts slow but really picks up about the 2 minute mark. #science #scienceeverday #fossils Two insects in fossilized amber!  One is using the host for transport and this has been identified.  Awesomeness, found on originally today. Ancient Ephemeroptera-Collembola Symbiosis Fossilized in Amber

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#evolutionary_biology #phoresy #collembola #ephemeroptera #amber  

Ancient Ephemeroptera–Collembola Symbiosis Fossilized in Amber Predicts Contemporary Phoretic Associations

'..Our find represents the first record of phoresy in adult mayflies, fossil or extant. The lack of records of phoretic association in extant Epemeroptera species is perhaps due to the short lifespan of the adults and because their life cycle is predominantly associated around and over an aquatic environment with little chance for terrestrial hitch-hikers to climb on board..'

X-ray computed tomography is used to identify a unique example of fossilized phoresy in 16 million-year-old Miocene Dominican amber involving a springtail being transported by a mayfly.

It represents the first evidence (fossil or extant) of phoresy in adult Ephemeroptera and only the second record in Collembola (the first is also preserved in amber).
This is the first record of Collembola using winged insects for dispersal.

This fossil predicts the occurrence of similar behaviour in living springtails and helps explain the global distribution of Collembola today.
- Penney D, McNeil A, Green DI, Bradley RS, Jepson JE

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The Journal of Cave and Karst Studies Volume 75 (2), published by the +National Speleological Society, is now available for download:

Articles in this issue include:
“Subterranean Aquatic Planarians of Sardinia, with a discussion on the Penial Flagellum and the Bursal Canal Sphincter in the Genus Dendrocoelum (Platyhelminthes, Tricladida, Dendrocoelidae),” Giacinta Angela Stocchino, Ronald Sluys, Palolo Marcia, and Renata Manconi 

“Occurrence of Troglobitic Clivinines in China (Insecta: Coleoptera: Carabidae),” Mingyi Tian 

“The First Cavernicolous Nicoletiidae (Insecta: Zygentoma) from the United Arab Emirates,” Luis Espinasa and Luis F. Mendes 

“The View of Maya Cave Ritual from the Overlook Rockshelter, Caves Branch River Valley, Central Belize,” Gabriel D. Wrobel, Rebecca Shelton, Shawn Morton, Joshua Lynch, and Christopher Andres 

“Flow Characterization in the Santee Cave System in the Chapel Branch Creek Watershed, Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina, USA,” Amy E. Edwards, Devendra M. Amatya, Thomas M. Williams, Daniel R. Hitchcock, and April L. James 

“New Species and New Records of Springtails (Hexapoda: Collembola) from Caves in the Salem Plateau of Illinois, USA,” Felipe N. Soto-Adames and Steven J. Taylor

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Sminthurus viridis, a globular springtail known as the clover springtail or lucerne flea, its size is less than 1mm. Thanks to Frans Janssens from for confirming the id. Captured with the MP-E at 5:1 magnification and slightly cropped to the right, for composition.

#BuggyFirday  +Buggy Friday by +Ray Bilcliff and +Dorothy Pugh 
#BugsEveryday  +BugsEveryday by +Chris Mallory 

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A White Waxy Cap ( Hygrophorus eburneus ) mushroom pushes through the moss in the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula, with a tiny Globular Springtail ( Collembola ) just visible on the top right of its cap. I have several photos containing springtails, but in every instance I have not noticed the tiny animals until after looking closely at the photo on my computer monitor. You can see some incredible photos of globular springtails by doing a Google Images search:

Springtails are reputed to be one of the most abundant of all macroscopic animals, with estimates of 100,000 individuals per cubic meter of topsoil, essentially everywhere on Earth where soil and related habitats (moss, fallen wood, grass tufts, ant and termite nests) occur. Springtails are so named because they have an abdominal, tail-like appendage called a furcula that is folded beneath their body, and which they activate like a spring for jumping when they feel threatened.

Springtails also possess the ability to reduce their body size by as much as 30% through subsequent "ecdyses" (molting) if temperatures rise high enough. Since warmer conditions increase metabolic rates and energy requirements in organisms, the reduction in body size is often advantageous to their survival.

Springtails are currently used in laboratory tests for the early detection of soil pollution, because in the real world Collembola may move far from pollution sources whenever possible.

( Information courtesy of )

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For +Zen Sunday / #ZenSunday, curated by +Charlotte Therese Björnström, +Nathan Wirth, and +Simon Davis-Oakley, and +ScienceSunday / #ScienceSunday, curated by +Allison Sekuler, +Robby Bowles, +Rajini Rao, +Chad Haney, and +Buddhini Samarasinghe, and +ShroomshotSaturday / #ShroomshotSaturday, curated by +Patti Colston, +Michael Albrecht, and +Anders Stedtlund, and +Fungus Friday / #FungusFriday, curated by +Dan Bowden and +Chris Sullivan, and #MossyMonday curated by +Dan Bowden, and +Macro Monday / #MacroMonday, curated by +Kerry Murphy, +Kelli Seeger Kim, +Sandra Parlow, and +Jeff Moreau, and #Macro4All  by +Bill Urwin, +Thomas Kirchen, +Mark O'Callaghan   +Walter Soestbergen (+Macro4All ), and #hqspmacro +HQSP Macro curated by +Vinod Krishnamoorthy, +Sandra Deichmann  +Suzi Harr and +Chandro Ji, and #hqspnaturalother +HQSP Natural Other curated by +Valesa Diamontes, +Delcour Eric and +Sean McLean +Jean-Noel Nicolas, and +All Things Green / #AllThingsGreen  curated by +Cicely Robin Laing, and the +Breakfast Club / #BreakfastClub, curated by +Gemma Costa, and +10000 PHOTOGRAPHERS curated by +Robert SKREINER, and +Quirky Nature / #QuirkyNature, curated by +Carissa Braun, and +Forest Friday / #ForestFriday, curated by +Rudolf Vlček, and +BugsEveryday / #BugsEveryday, curated by +Chris Mallory, and +Buggy Friday / #BuggyFriday, curated by #buggyfriday +Buggy Friday Curators +Ray Bilcliff +Dorothy Pugh +Victoria Etna...

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Post has shared content - Collembola (springtails), Acari (mites), Nematoda (threadworms/pinworms, hookworms, roundworms, eelworms), Formicidae (ants)
Soil Bugs - An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand Soil Invertebrates (2006)
By Minor, MA and Robertson AW. Updated on December 11, 2012 

"Ants are arguably the greatest success story in the history of terrestrial metazoa. On average, ants monopolize 15–20% of the terrestrial animal biomass, and in tropical regions where ants are especially abundant, they monopolize 25% or more."

- Schultz TR. In search of ant ancestors. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (2000) vol. 97 (26) pp. 14028-9. 

Other more numerous animal groups:

"Nematodes are the most abundant and ubiquitous multicellular organisms on earth. They are found from the bottom of the deepest ocean to near the tops of the highest mountains, from the tropics to polar regions, and from every conceivable habitat. Nematodes are also found in or on most other types of organisms as parasites, commensals or phoretics: everything from earthworms, insects, molluscs, fish, reptiles birds, mammals to humans. In fact it is said that if the everything on the earth were to disappear except the nematodes, the outlines of everything would still be visible: the mountains, lakes and oceans, the plants and the animals would all be outlined by the nematodes living in every habitat.

Nematodes are also amongst the most diverse taxa on earth, with an estimated 500 000 to 1 000 000 species. Only about 20 000 species have been described, and the systematic literature is widely dispersed. It is hoped this key will fill some of this void."

- Hodda, M. Nematode Biosystematics & Ecology. CSIRO Entomology (2001). 

"Microarthropods, such as soil mites and Collembola, are considered perhaps the most important animal components of temperate forest ecosystems (Moldenke and Lattin 1990, Hansen 2000) and are thought to account for nearly 95% of the soil arthropod fauna (Seastedt 1984). Their great abundance makes them important contributors to several soil processes, such as material and energy cycles, and soil formation (Manh Vu and Nguyen 2000). These organisms have been shown to affect litter decomposition through increased mass loss and mineralization of nutrients. As dominant mycophages of most terrestrial ecosystems, oribatid mites and Collembolans affect nutrient cycling processes in the sizable “nutrient reservoir” represented by the soil fungi, although to what extent is not clear (Seastedt 1984)."

- Steffen JF et al. Activity and Diversity of Collembola (Insecta) and Mites (Acari) in Litter of a Degraded Midwestern Oak Woodland. The Great Lakes Entomologist (2012) vol. 45 (1-2) pp. 1-18. 

"Mites are among the most diverse and successful of all the invertebrate groups. They have exploited an incredible array of habitats, and because of their small size (most are microscopic) go largely unnoticed. Many live freely in the soil or water, but there are also a large number of species that live as parasites on plants, animals, and some that feed on mold. It is estimated that 48,200 species of mites have been described." 

"Many springtails are opportunistic species capable of rapid population growth. Under favourable conditions they can reach densities of more than 100 individuals per square centimeter. Collembola make up a significant proportion of the animal biomass in most soils. They play an important role in decomposition and nutrient cycling in soil ecosystems, and are a major food source for a variety of soil predators"

- Minor, MA and Robertson AW. (2006) Collembola. Soil Bugs - An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand Soil Invertebrates (updated 11-Dec-2012), (20-February-2013).

"Springtails are cryptozoa frequently found in leaf litter and other decaying material, where they are primarily detritivores and microbivores, and one of the main biological agents responsible for the control and the dissemination of soil microorganisms.
In sheer numbers, they are reputed to be one of the most abundant of all macroscopic animals, with estimates of 100,000 individuals per cubic meter of topsoil, essentially everywhere on Earth where soil and related habitats (moss cushions, fallen wood, grass tufts, ant and termite nests) occur; only nematodes, crustaceans, and mites are likely to have global populations of similar magnitude, and each of those groups except mites is more inclusive: though taxonomic rank cannot be used for absolute comparisons, it is notable that nematodes are a phylum and crustaceans a subphylum. Most springtails are small and difficult to see by casual observation, but one springtail, the so-called snow flea (Hypogastrura nivicola), is readily observed on warm winter days when it is active and its dark color contrasts sharply with a background of snow." 

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