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Blogger Marilynn Nash examines the arrival of insects

Mar. 6, 2013
 
Marilynn Nash/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com
Marilynn Nash/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com
Marilynn Nash/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com
Marilynn Nash/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com

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A mosquito glided past my ear a few cold days ago, passing through my peripheral then primary vision. Through the next minutes – I was outdoors – I saw three more.

As I took close-up photos of mosquitoes resting or crawling on snow, I noticed snow fleas. So I took more photos.

In the past I have seen snow fleas covering the snow in the thousands. At first appearance they look like particles of soot or small chips from tree bark. They are about 1/16 inch long.

The snow fleas had gathered in my boot prints from previous days. I was surprised to see a caterpillar crawling up the side of one deep boot print in the snow. Two snow fleas followed close behind.

An Internet search yielded more information about snow fleas. I discovered that they are not fleas. They are springtails. True to their name they sprang out of my field of focus a few times when I took macro photos of them.

Springtails are important because they decompose dead plants. They are outside year-round, but are more noticeable against white snow.

I took a photo of another insect that I have not yet identified, but it’s similar to a mosquito.

I’m just glad that it’s cold enough and early enough to hold off the emergence of ticks!

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