Friday, May 1, 2009

Deerfield version of "the Blob"

My neighbor Larry called me up to his place recently to see something unusual. At first it appeared to be a simple oil slick on his concrete drive. Then it started moving!

After a call to the UT Extension Service, Larry found out the moving blob was a mass of "springtails."

Here's what the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture says about them:

Springtails are tiny wingless insects with distinctive heads and a hump-backed appearance. Their name comes from a forked structure attached to the underside of the abdomen which acts a spring to flip them into the air. This behavior gives them the appearance of tiny fleas. Other than being a nuisance, these unique little creatures pose no threat. Most springtails live in rich soil or leaf litter, under bark or decaying wood, or associated with fungi. Many are scavengers, feeding on decaying plants, fungi, molds, or algae. Springtails become abundant among wet leaves, soil, and plant material along a house foundations or sidewalks where they can be a temporary annoyance. Masses of these insects can be swept up and discarded.
(Photo courtesy of University of Kentucky.)

You never know what kind of wildlife you're going to see in Deerfield.

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