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Debbie Hadley

Snow Fleas!

By December 27, 2010

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28 inches. That's how much snow got dumped on us in the past 24 hours. I've got walks to shovel and cars to dig out, so here's a fun post from last winter you might enjoy. If you're in a snowbound area, stay safe and keep warm!

Snow fleas!

Snow fleas! Click the image to see Claudia's original photo in a larger size.

There's one bug out there that's pretty content in this winter wonderland, though. It's sunny and not too cold today, perfect weather for snow fleas. Take a walk in the woods on a sunny winter day, and you just might see swarms of tiny blue springtails gathered at the base of trees. With snow on the ground, they're easy to spot.

Snow fleas, like other springtails, are decomposers. They feed on all kinds of organic matter, from fungi to pollen. On warm winter days, snow fleas build tiny snowbugs and have snowball fights, using their furculas to launch microscopic snowballs at one another. Okay, just kidding about that last part. If you see snow fleas on a warm winter day, they're really just searching for food.

Thanks to Flickr user Claude@Munich for giving me permission to use her excellent image of snow fleas on the snow. I cropped her image down a bit, but you can see her original photo on her Flickr photostream.

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