25 October 2009

Life under a brick

But no house can be smaller than a single brick.
Arthur C. Clarke, The road to Lilliput, 1973.
For a soil invertebrate, however, even a brick fragment could be an abode with plenty of room to share with others.

UnderBrick1

The other day, when I turned this piece of brick in my backyard over, I encountered a menagerie.

There were 2 species of isopods: the one on the left was probably an Armadillidium nasatum and the one in the middle probably a Porcellio scaber. The bug on the right is probably a true bug (hemipteran), but that's where my knowledge of them ends.

UnderBrick2

There were 2 species of snails: the small one on top is a Vertigo pygmaeum, while the larger one is a Cochlicopa lubrica. Both are common on and under the rocks in the yard.

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Finally, the big woolly caterpillar is a woolly bear, the larva of the moth Pyrrharctica isabella. Those caterpillars are quite common around here, but I don't think I have ever seen the moth itself.

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