Unidentified Arthropods in the Christopher B. Smith Preserve

Arthropod Characteristics: All arthropods are invertebrate animals with exoskeletons (external skeletons), segmented bodies, and jointed, paired appendages. As an arthropod grows, it molts its exoskeleton.

Arthropods include members of Class Arachnida (spiders and mites), Class Branchiopods (water fleas), Class Malacostraca (shrimp and wood lice), Class Diplura (diplurans), Class Collembola (springtails), Class Insecta (insects), Class Chilopoda (centipedes), Class Diplopoda (millipedes), and Class Symphyla (dwarf millipedes and garden centipedes).

There are so many described species of arthropods in the world that they make up more than 80% of all described living animal species.

Interactions in the Smith Preserve: Depending on the species, they are pollinators, predators, and prey. Some help recycle nutrients in the soil, while others help transmit diseases to plants and animals.

Special Note: The photographs and descriptions of the arthropods on this web page have been submitted for identification to the experts at <BugGuide.net>. To date, none have had a confirmed identification, even to class.


Unknown Arthropod #1


This tiny (.3 mm), bright red arthropod was captured in a pitfall trap on December 16, 2015. The trap had been placed in the west-central portion of the Smith Preserve in a sandy scrub area adjacent to Selaginella arenicola (Sand Spike Moss).

This individual was isolated from the litter by using a Berlese Funnel and these photographs were created using photomicroscopy.

Note, the body shape is like that of a silverfish and the individual has a pair of what look like cerci. It does not appear to have a median caudal filament between the two cerci, but there is a light-colored point on the last abdominal segment. This arthropod appears to have dark, red eyes.

The first and second photographs are dorsal views, the third is a ventral view, and the fourth and fifth are lateral views. The third photograph shows what appear to be an antennae on the head beside the eyes, but the image is not clear. All images were submitted for identification to <BugGuide.net> on December 17, 2015.

On 18 August 2016, one <BugGuide.net> Contributing Editor (Charlie Eisman) wrote "Coccoidea? What about a scale insect?" As yet, No one has confirmed that identification.




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Unknown Arthropod #2

This 2.75 mm arthropod was living in leaf litter beneath an oak hammock north of the Smith Preserve Way bridge on February 10, 2016.

The individual was isolated from the litter by using a Berlese Funnel, and these photographs were created using photomicroscopy. The photographs were submitted for identification to <BugGuide.net> on 13 March 2016. To date, no one at <BugGuide.net> has identified this animal.

The 3.75 mm long arthropod below was found in the same leaf litter sample as the individual above. The process for removing this specimen and photographing these images is the same as above.

The first photograph below is a dorsal view and the second, a ventral view. As can be seen in the ventral view below, the dorsal "capsule" seemed to wrap around the legs. This characteristic was also true of the specimen above.

These two photographs were submitted to <BugGuide.net> for identification on 4 March 2016. This specimen, like the one above, has yet to be identified. It is likely the same species, but this one is 1 mm larger than the one above.

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Unknown Arthropod #3

This specimen, .75 mm in length, was found in wet pine litter in the southeastern corner of the Smith Preserve on 9 December 2015. The litter sample was collected after it had rained for two consecutive days.

The specimen was extracted from the litter with a Berlese funnel and these photographs were created using photomicroscopy. The first image is a lateral view, the second is a dorsal view, and the third and fourth are ventral views.

The specimen appears to have distant segments along its dorsal surface. Its legs are bulbous and there do not appear to be segments. There are more than 3 pairs of legs. Some legs appear to have claws.

The dorsal surface is curled over and resembles a roly poly. There are what look like chopped off antennae as well as some kind of extended mouth structure. There are distinctive eyes/eyespots with hairs nearby that look almost like eyelashes.

Although these images were submitted to <BugGuide.net> on 22 December 2015, the scientific class of arthropod has yet to be identified.


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© Photographs and text by Susan Leach Snyder (Conservancy of Southwest Florida Volunteer), unless otherwise credited above.

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