Ted MacRae’s recent posting regarding a phoretic pseudoscorpion prompted me to think back to similar observations I have made. During a recent trip to Kickapoo State Park in Oakwood, IL with my field biology students, I observed a number of the tetrigrids (often called pygmy grasshoppers or grouse locusts) that were so common along the sand edging the narrow sandy, rocky strip between the stream and the forest looked, well, bumpy. I disregarded the bumpy ones in an effort to find one that was symmetric since photography was on my mind.
Given the paucity of nice, smooth , symmetric tetrigids, I put my attention to photographing what was readily at hand. Tetrigids are small, relatively quick short-horned grasshoppers that readily blend into the rocky or sandy substrate. Since they were not the primary organisms I was trying to photograph (I was actually in search of the toad bugs, pictured in the previous entry), I snapped a few pictures and headed off to find my real quarry.
Upon downloading the images of the tetrigids I observed that the bumps I was seeing were actually snails. It always amazes me what a little magnification and sharpening allows you to see.