Can You Spot The Beetle’s Friend?

Sminthurides aquaticus

Sminthurides aquaticus

This was one of those moments when you are focusing on snapping something and don’t realise you got more than you bargained for when opening it up on the PC monitor. It’s not the clearest of images, but below the beetle called Elaphrus riparius is a tiny yellowish and bluish globular springtail called Sminthurides aquaticus. It grows up to no more than 1mm in length.

The male has specially adapted clasping antennae which he uses to grasp the female during mating. They feed on micro-organisms found on decomposing organic material.

Frequently found on the surface of standing water like ponds. Common and widespread throughout the British Isles.

Photograph of Sminthurides aquaticus taken June 2013, local pond, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2013. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.