The pond, end of January

After a very cold start to January, the pond had a thick layer of ice on it. I can't really say how thick it was (at least 6"/15cm), but it lasted for most of the month. It thawed a bit once and got over an inch of rain on it, then another cold snap froze that.

By the last day of the month though, most of the ice was gone and I was able to take a good look.


Right away I noticed something weird (not the bamboo culm -- I have no idea how that got into the water)...

It was these little floating clumps of... I didn't know what. Something that fell from the trees? A kind of dirt? Some remnant of the ice?

The stuff was everywhere:

Half of the pond was still covered by ice...

...but the part that wasn't had these clumps of "stuff"on it. Hmmm.

I finally put down the camera (love those winter tree reflections!) and satisfied my curiosity:

Bugs! Tiny insects!

But wait... some research (several attempted Google searches, the key was including the word "winter") finally revealed that these are springtails (in the order Collembola). Some species of springtails are aquatic (check!) and are primarily active in very cold weather (check!). 

Most scientists now feel that they are “non-insect” Hexapods. (All insects are Hexapods, but not all Hexapods are insects)

If I had more time I would have put these under the microscope (which I haven't used for a couple of years), but alas, I'll have to be satisfied knowing that at least I've identified them!

Want to see more?

- A similar springtail swarm in Iowa:
- More info on springtails than you probably want:
- A macro image of what might be my springtails (surprisingly cute):

I'm pretty sure the fish, once the water warmed a bit, devoured all of these.


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outlawgardener  – (February 21, 2018 at 9:20 AM)  

You get the most interesting wildlife in your garden! Free fish food - hooray!

chavliness  – (February 21, 2018 at 11:02 AM)  

I can't get over the fact that the fish live under the ice like this.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax!  – (February 21, 2018 at 11:37 AM)  

6". That's thick! I'm trying not to say 'euch' about the springtails. Creatures which can be interesting one by one can be a bit overwhelming en masse.

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