Minuscule white bugs. [picture from microscope included]

pyroboySeptember 23, 2010


Yesterday, I took some soil from a pot and put it in a small cup. I filled it with water and I saw many of those white bugs floating. When the water receded, they went back into the soil. I caught some of them with a toothpic and I managed to take some pictures of them with a cheap microscope.

[see attachment]

As you can see, the creature is 1mm in length. It has two thick hairy... antennas(?). Some legs along its body and a hairy... ass :p

I would be grateful if someone here could recognise it so I can defend my plants if it's going to pose a threat to them.

A few months ago, all of my tomato plants, a pumpkin plant and a mellon plant ended up as food for some spidermites.

I can't let those white bugs do something similar...

Image link:

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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Sorry there's not enough detail there. BTW what good is a microscope that shows a shadow with no detail?
My digital camera would do better. Did you by chance post the wrong picture?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 7:05PM
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The description sounds like, and the picture looks to me like, a springtail. Pretty harmless little characters. They like moist places and eat decaying organic matter.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 9:26PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'm still chuckling at this image. I love the effort you took. I agree with garb that I 'think' I can see the silhouette of a springtail, but also agree with Taz that the microimage made it difficult to identify. Anything that you can spear with a toothpick can be zoomed in on with your digital.

Sort of looks like a hand shadow puppet we did as kids. ;-)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 9:47PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Looks like a springtail to me.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 12:27AM
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A cheap one! :P Just like mine. But it's not like this when you look with your eyes. The picture came out like a shadow because I had to manually set the focus, exposure and shutter speed. With the AUTO feature, the only thing you would see is a bright dot! :p I tried to zoom at it with my digital camera but I couldn't get something better than the first picture..
The circled white dots are the creatures. The others are specs of dust.

But I am sure that your assumptions are correct and they are springtails. Because, with the microscope and my eyes not the camera, I can see them with much more detail. When they are alive and moving, they slip on the glass and I can see them sideways. They look exactly like these two

So I think it is ok to plant some lettuces.
Thanks gardenweb people!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 3:15AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

If they're popping like popcorn when disturbed they're springtails, Otherwise????
When I had a bunch of springtails in a bowl of sphagnum moss and watered it, it looked like I'd just poured soda pop.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 7:05AM
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