springtail on a dirty white plastic surface

These little springtails with the shiny stripe were running like mad on the white plastic of a garbage bag.

Springtails (Order Collembola, Subphylum Hexapoda) while appearing to be insects are a little farther away in the taxonomic scheme of things. Each group shares six legs (i.e. Hexapoda = six feet), but springtails are not in segments (i.e. Insecta = in segments, or sections if you will). Think of the hungry caterpillar and its partitioned body. A springtail it ain’t!

They are very interesting creatures of which I should know more. They are also very tiny usually and require some extreme magnification to get a good look at. The best springtail photos on the web are probably to be found in Eddie the Bugman’s Flickr photostream. I think I’ve linked there before, but if you haven’t checked it out, it’s absolutely worth a look. He posted an amazing series of a springtail laying an egg just yesterday, in fact. Can’t say enough good things about Eddie and his work.

While we’re on the subject of extreme macro, I thought I’d add that I have some other, higher magnification shots that I took in the spring, some shots I was saving for my long-coming, let’s call it a “How-to” series on macro photography, which has not come to fruition as those of you who follow along regularly can attest. Extreme macro is one of the subjects I’m going to look at, and I’ve actually written a couple posts already, but I’d like to get at least a couple more down before I start posting them. Since I am dragging my feet on those, I may just go ahead and post my version of extreme macro.


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