Monday, July 30, 2018

Incredible Journey Ant

We were looking at a pair of well worn moth wings on the deck when an ant picked one up and started across the deck.  Soon another ant picked up the remaining wing and followed roughly in the same direction.  I followed them with this video for 5 minutes as they crossed 12 feet of the deck, and crossed 20 spaces between the boards, some openings twice their length, that looked like chasms to me, but apparently not to the ants.

A mouthful of wing
The moth wings measured 21 mm and by comparing the photographs the ant was at most 4 mm long.  The ants carried the wings in their jaws, mostly in front lifting them just above the deck surface.  Occasionally they turned around to drag them, usually when encountering lots of cedar leaves. They traveled toward a rotting cedar pole attached to the deck.
Bridging the gap
The spaces between the boards measured between 5-10mm and while some were stuffed with dried red cedar leaves, most were open, presenting a challenge to the 4mm ant.  The usual strategy was to put the wing across the opening, then holding it in its mouth, stretch across the chasm to get a front leg across.  This happened in a split second as the ant considered its options.  When it reached the edge of the deck it then carried the wing head first down a 5 foot tall cedar pole and into the duff.

Consider the physics of this trip.  The ant carrying a wing 5 times its length in front of it, in its jaws!  Suppose for a minute that the wing is 20% of the ant's weight.  That would be like me carrying a 30 pound door 28 feet long in front of me, holding it above the deck surface.  Oh, and don't forget it is carrying it in its jaws!  That makes my mouth hurt.  Now it is time to see the video.
Chris Barnhart identified the moth wings as Anisota, likely A. stigma, or maybe A. virginiensis.   I will go with the spiny oakworm moth - Anisote stigma, as we have been finding them by the deck light the last month.  The caterpillars eat oak leaves while the adult moths don't eat, only breed, lay eggs on oak and then die.  Many of our porch light moths are following pheromone scents and are drawn to the light, after having completed their biological mission.

I sent the photographs to James Trager who said that the ants appear to be Aphenogaster lamellidens.
"A native to the Southeastern United States, this ant species plays an important role in the forest ecosystem as a generalist predator, hunting and scavenging other insects and arthropods. Ants in this genus are also important for actively dispersing plant seeds. Many plants on the forest floor benefit from this behavior, and encourage ants to gather their seeds by providing attractive and nutritious food bodies just for ants. Aphaenogaster lamellidens can commonly be found nesting in logs within wooded areas, but colonies can thrive in captivity as well, making them a useful species for laboratory study or ant farm hobbyists. Colonies of Aphaenogaster lamellidens can be fairly large, with up to several thousand workers. "  Dr. Lisa Taylor
We have wild ginger and bloodroot growing near by that have seeds with elaiosomes that ants plant for us.  As to why, James said, "They will eat the wing muscle remnants off the wing base, then discard the rest."  Like the chicken hot wing craze, there isn't much meat but apparently it was worth the trip.  Quite likely there was a noisy celebration when they brought their treasure into the  nest but we never heard it up on the deck.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Bluebirds of Happiness

Kathleen's bluebird - Chris Meyer
We spend most of our time on Bull Creek where we have a trail of 15 bluebird houses scattered along the field edges.  We see bluebirds throughout the nesting season while maintaining the boxes.  Barb was talking with Kathleen Graves Birdsong recently about her experiences of living with bluebirds in an urban neighborhood and passionately caring for them..  We asked her to share her story in the blog.
"I have enjoyed watching birds since I took a bird watching course in college. When we moved onto 10 acres of open woodland in southwest Springfield I saw the usual birds - robins, cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, titmice. But I would see a flash of blue as early as February - a bluebird.

We had tons of birds and hawks, even though we were surrounded by subdivisions. I put bird seed on the north side of the house, which was rapidly devoured, but no bluebirds.  I put an eastern bluebird house on the south side of the house close to my front door, but again no bluebirds.  I knew the bird house needed to have an opening for bluebirds so other birds did not get in and damage their eggs or chicks - starlings are the worst in my opinion. I also found it was best to place a bird house near a softer spot so if they fall out, they are not injured.

Then I spoke with someone at Wild Birds Unlimited and began my education. Bluebirds do not eat seed. They LOVE mealworms which must be kept in the fridge in a dormant state. Also, my bird house needed to be farther from my house and the feeder I put mealworms in every morning had to be a short distance away.  They suggested that I train my bluebirds every day by feeding at the same time and I needed to let them know I was coming. I began to whistle "Shoo Fly" at feeding time. They also need water to drink so I put in a birdbath.  Being busy I feed at about 7 AM, starting in February or March, whistling on the way. The thing is, they are waiting for me along with robins and cardinals. They battle for the worms and on occasion a blue jay joins in the fight.  I was amazed at how aggressive the pretty little bluebirds could be, diving into other birds.

Last year I had two nestings of eggs which is common for bluebirds, spring and late summer.  When it is rainy, stormy, or in the winter, I did not see them as often. (When they are not nesting, these birds roam the countryside in small flocks. *)  Usually in February I will see them first.  Sadly, I just moved from the 10 acres to down size since my children are grown.  I live in a neighborhood but still have trees and lots of open space so soon I will start again. Wild Birds suggested I walk from my 10 acres to new home, which is not too far away, whistling "Shoo Fly," but my new neighbors would think I was crazy. I did try to educate the new owners of the 10 acres about my bluebirds and I hope they care enough to take care of them. It only took me 10 years to figure all this out!"
Bluebirds went through a bad spell in our country.  They were one of the cavity nesting species common across eastern North America before "us" invaded and became US.  Back in the day dead trees stayed up, filled with cavities created by tree decay or woodpeckers, providing secondary cavity nesters like bluebirds (means they cannot create their own cavities) with mass housing.  The European invasion first brought axes and saws clearing land for crops, felling dead trees and creating a housing shortage.

House Sparrow - Wikipedia
Then in the early 1850s "we" settlers imported  house sparrows (HOSP), aka English sparrows as a novelty.  At first they didn't naturalize or thrive but as they were propagated as a fad over 20 years they spread across the country.  In the 1870s the novelty began to wear off, leading to the "sparrow war" of words among ornithologists reaching a peak in 1878.  By then HOSP were spreading across the country like feathered feral hogs.  See HOSP site.

Invasive starlings and HOSP are aggressive birds known to destroy the nests, eggs, and nestlings of other birds, especially bluebirds.  See Mort Shurtz' story.  Ongoing deforestation and other habitat destruction also contributed to the decline of bluebird populations in the early 20th century.  Populations are now increasing due to education and the spread of bluebird boxes.  Invasive HOSP and starlings are fair game for nest destruction as they are not covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 that protects all native birds except designated game bird species.

Chickadee nest in box
Our bluebird experiences are somewhat different than in urban areas.  Bluebird houses need frequent inspection to clean out abandoned nests and remove wasp nests.  Frequently we find a welcome nest of a chickadee.  They are identified by the moss they use and by the white speckled eggs.  We enjoy their progress and it is illegal to interfere with their nests.

The first sign of bluebird nesting is the accumulation of grass that is then hollowed out quickly.  After several more days we start to see beautiful blue eggs appear a day or two apart until there are five or rarely six.

Then the brooding by the female begins.  When we inspect the box she will usually flush like a quail with a flapping that startles me every time.  On other occasions she will tenaciously sit on the eggs even when we open the box to inspect.  Those times she will never look at us or acknowledge our presence.

The fun really begins when the chicks first hatch.  Naked and bald except for some fluff on top of their heads that doesn't resemble feathers, they initially aren't disturbed by our presence.  Their eyes are closed tightly and there is no movement at all.  By the next day they are responding to any disturbance with gaping mouths, demanding food.  Watch their demands in this video.

Over the next week the only change will be the gradual covering with feathers.  As their eyes open they don't seem to see us as intruders, rather as another potential source of food.  By now both parents are busy collecting crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and beetles for their young.  I suspect Kathleen's mealworms would be like M&Ms to them but our country birds likely have coarser fare.

Over the years, in addition to regularly clearing out wasp nests out of our boxes we have had several other interesting cavity nesters.  A downy woodpecker once created its own side entrance as a winter haven.  This spring's cleaning of boxes exposed a fulvous harvest mouse that had climbed the steel T-post to install its own nest.

You can learn more about building and maintaining your own boxes on Sialis, and is the go to site for all everything Bluebird including what to do with apparently orphan birds found out of their nest.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tadpole Legs

You may recall that we commented in Linda Bower's leeches video that the tadpoles only had hind legs. I always assumed that the front legs would start as little buds, growing larger slowly like the hind legs do. It turns out that they do, but hidden inside the gills. Notice above the bump below and behind the eye. That is the front leg awaiting its debut.  So how does a tadpole become a frog?

"Look Ma, no hands!"
"As a tadpole matures, it most commonly metamorphosizes by gradually growing limbs (usually the back legs first, followed by the front legs) and then (most commonly in the case of frogs) outwardly absorbing its tail by apoptosis. Lungs develop around the time of leg development, and tadpoles late in development will often be found near the surface of the water, where they breathe air. During the final stages of external metamorphosis, the tadpole's mouth changes from a small, enclosed mouth at the front of the head to a large mouth the same width as the head. The intestines shorten to accommodate the new diet. Most tadpoles are herbivorous, subsisting on algae and plants." Wikipedia

Front leg peeking out of gill opening
The front legs develop internally inside the gill pocket of the tadpole’s body. They don't emerge until the tadpole is almost ready to make its frog/toad debut and leave the water.  The seemingly obvious reason used to be that the delay in emergence was because the front legs would obviously slow the tadpole's swimming speed, making it more vulnerable to predators.  Recent research published in Functional Ecology has proven the common explanation wrong.
Three legs and a leg lump in the gills
This article in the Telegraph summarizes the findings.

As seen in Linda's video, front legs rarely erupted simultaneously.  Generally one leg appeared five or six hours before the other. So for a short spell the tadpoles were swimming around with three legs which common sense would say might prevent the tadpole from swimming straight.  Wrong, they swam as straight as those with two or four legs.

Right elbow out but the "fingers" still in the gills.
But of course the little legs dangling down would surely slow them down.  Wrong! They tested tadpoles having two, three or four legs to see the effect on how fast tadpoles could swim. They measured the escape or “burst speed” -  how fast a tadpole set off when startled by a jet of air from a pipette. "Tadpoles swam faster with four legs than with two. They even swam faster with three legs than with two."

Now watch in Linda's video and pay special attention starting at 2:24 and you will see the front leg on the right emerge and start functioning.

"Free at last. Time to suck up my tail and eat meat!" *
 *  Stay tuned as tadpoles complete their transition to frogdom.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Linda's Leeches

Our resident videographer, Linda Bower, has been into leeches lately.  The ones seen here are Placobdella picta, a species that specializes on juvenile amphibians.  Her two months of filming has captured their movements and especially their interesting association with tadpoles. The ones seen here in this video are on spring peeper and gray tree frog tadpoles. A time lapse shows blood moving in the leech. Note the young leech attached to the glass from 1:54 to 2:25 minutes. The white dots swimming around are mostly ostracods.

Linda has been communicating with Malcolm McCallum who has researched P. picta  and their association with tadpoles described in this paper.  P. picta is known to parasitize 12 amphibian species including salamanders, frogs and the American toad.  They find their future host by detecting vibrations from the swimming amphibians.

There is speculation that this species may be an important regulator of tadpole populations. Many frogs return to the waters where their own eggs were deposited. They are a known vector for several blood-parasites and may play an important role in amphibian declines.

This video has closeups of the leeches which have not attached to a tadpole.  It includes views of  "hanging out," "walking," reacting to copepods, and the inevitable guts moving and eliminating waste. At 3:22, the leech goes inside of an air bubble and then back into the water, which is very cool to watch.

Notice you only see hind legs on the tadpole.  More on that soon. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Twitching Spider Leg

As I was sitting at my desk last week, I saw a little brown spider come out from behind some books.  I suspected the spider was a brown recluse so I used a pencil to pin down its legs while looking for an insect box to put it in.  Two of its legs fell off and started twitching, continuing for over two minutes while I got my camera to take this video.

Few spiders can be identified down to species just by their markings.  Even black widows have several species, separated by the details of their hourglass.  The identification of the brown recluse, aka fiddle spider, is "confirmed" by the fiddle marking on the dorsal thorax above.  At least, that is what we were all taught.
The Burke Museum calls this a myth as there are other spiders that can have fiddle shaped markings.  Another myth involves an outbreak of L. reclusa  bites in California as this species only occurs in the south-central United States.  Spider identification can be narrowed down by the eyes.

Spider identification is tricky at best but it usually begins by looking at the arrangement of their eyes and comparing it to this chart.  For those of us non-arachnologists, looking one in the eye involves either a smashed spider or a camera.  In this case it was this postmortem view that put it in the Loxosceles genera, called the brown spiders.  There are eleven species of Loxosceles in the United States, but only  Loxosceles reclusa is reported in Missouri.

Certain identification down to species requires a detailed examination of an adult spider's genitalia under a microscope.  And even the "fiddle" requires some magnification, something I can't do with a moving spider, so all brown spiders of that certain size are brown recluse until proven otherwise at postmortem. 

Exposed "hip joints"
Back to the twitching leg, this is a common finding when Opiliones (harvestmen) lose a leg and has been reported with Pholcids (cellar spiders).  Both groups have extremely long legs and tiny bodies, meaning that predators are most likely to grab a fragile leg.  Cowles describes this as a "flexible secondary defense." *  The leg kicking around on its own entertains the predator and may actually give it a satisfying treat while the victim makes an escape, similar to the twitching blue tail of a five-lined skink.

Opioliones actually have muscles in the trochanter that contract to prevent bleeding.  "Two pacemaker nerve ganglia within the leg are activated as soon as communication with the central nervous system is severed.  They operate independently, causing the leg to twitch and jerk.  The legs even have their own trachae which supply the disembodied legs with oxygen.  The leg can twitch for up to an hour, as opposed to 40 seconds without oxygen."*

I can't find any information on brown recluse spiders having disconnected twitching legs but I have the video and seeing is usually believing.
* Amazing Arachnids, Jillian Cowles.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Wolf Spider

While doing a soil survey in our freshly mowed hay field, Richard Locke spotted a large spider skittering over the duff.  After multiple tries we had it in a box.  While few spiders are distinctive, this wolf spider had unique markings of a male rabid wolf spider, Rabidosa rabida.

First the eyes have it.  Wolf spiders have a distinctive row of 4 small eyes on bottom, then two large eyes above and finally medium eyes on top and a little lateral.  The palps are large, typical of male spiders.  In addition to the dramatic light and dark stripes along the large cephalothorax, there are the series of large paired light stripes on the abdomen.  Finally, R. rabida males have black front legs.

Wolf spider eye pattern
Note eyes- click to enlarge
According to Bradley* "The spider is usually found in open habitats such as pastures and prairies, and even open woodlands.  It is most common in tall grasses where it climbs in the vegetation at night."  We would likely never found this one except for the mowing.

R. rabida with babies - Ralph Arvesen CC
According to Wikipedia, "During breeding, the male performs a "dance" in front of the female, and makes a noise with its legs. If mating is successful, the female will begin to lay its eggs and build an egg sack out of silk, which she will use to carry her young. When the spiderlings are born, they ride on the mother's back until they are old enough to be on their own."

The abdominal markings looked familiar so I went back in my files and found photographs of this little lady R. rabida in 2016.   She was slowed down by her burden (some of you ladies will probably sympathize), and willingly posed on my hand, even climbing up my finger to demonstrate her hold on the egg case.  Ever the gentleman, I gently returned her and today's find to their home territory.

* Common Spiders of North America, Richard Bradley, p. 160.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

A Beetle Moves a Mouse

Carrion beetles on a rat

This long-dead pack rat, Neotoma floridana, from our well house gave us a chance to witness a major orgy of carrion beetles.  Roughly 40 were scrambling over the carcass with more underneath it.  The 10:1 majority were the common American carrion beetle, Necrophila americana, dull black overall with a yellow anterior pronotum and a central dark spot.  Mating pairs were common with a lot of partner switching.

There is surprisingly little detailed information online about this common beetle.  Wikipedia states "It lays its eggs in, and its larvae consume, raw flesh (particularly that of dead animals) and fungi. The larvae and adults also consume fly larvae and the larvae of other carrion beetles that compete for the same food sources as its larvae."  They are primarily active in daytime.

Nicrophorus tomentosus with mites (upper left) and Necrophila americana

In the writhing mass I could occasionally spot a gold-necked carrion beetle, aka tomentose burying beetle, Nicrophorus tomentosus, named for the dense yellow hair on its pronotum.  We wrote about them with an emphasis on the mites they carry extensively in this blog last October.  We will return to them below.

RCB - note tooth on femora
Occasionally in the swirling mass of beetles I got a glimpse of another beetle I hadn't seen before.  It stayed mostly under the rat and I finally caught one to photograph.  This was a red-lined carrion beetle (RCB), Necrodes surinamensis.  Aside from the orange markings they also have a distinctive  expanded hind femora with a large tooth.

 Bugguide says "Rather nocturnal and is found at lights, unlike related genera. Adults locate carrion and mate on or near a carcass. They feed on fly larvae there. Eggs are laid on soil near the carcass. Larvae feed on fly larvae and carrion and pupate in soil. Adults overwinter in under litter."

All of these carrion beetles have a foul smell (no surprise their considering their life style) but that is due to the defensive chemicals they produce like all carrion beetles and their larvae.  RCB is even more sophisticated.  "It can eject anal fluid as a spray rather than an ooze. The abdominal tip, which projects beyond the posterior margins of the elytra, serves as a revolvable turret by which ejections are actually aimed."  Unlike bombardier beetles who spray from a dedicated gland, the RCB is unique as its spray is from the anus, a mixture of toxin and fecal matter, adding insult to injury. * (Editor's note: the author is a retired gastroenterologist.)

Unlike the other carrion beetles, there is detailed information on RCB in this paper by Brett C. Rattcliffe.  While the details of how they feed on the fly maggot was too much for even me, it is interesting that they are frequently canabalistic on their larvae.

Just as I finished this blog, my nephew Jon found beetles on a long-dead mouse.  When he came back 40 minutes later, the carcass had been moved 2 feet and he could see it twitching.  He watched as a Nicrophorus tomentosus beetle (with the orange jagged markings) would scout ahead, then come back and get under the mouse and start moving it again.  Berndt Heinrich recently described their technique of crawling under the animal lying on their back and using their legs to propel the victim forward.

Jon called me to the crime scene and I videoed the action.  Warning: This video is very graphic- do not watch before eating.  See it here on Youtube

3mm fly and a small rove beetle
You can see most of the other insects that feed on carrion as described in this link crawling on and in the mouse.  The mouse has lost lots of it hair already and several holes allow them access to the body cavity. In addition to the usual beetle suspects, there are metallic green blow flies, black and white striped Sarcophagidae flies, slender black rove beetles and a variety of small oval black beetles, ants, and lots of tiny orange 3mm flies that were flying in and out of the picture.

The Nicrophorus tomentosus beetles that are moving the mouse in little jerks are lifting 20 times their own weight, a prodigious feat, all done to provide a home for their larvae.  They will protect their eggs, parent their offspring and even may share a carcass with other beetles.  You have to love a beetle like that, or at least respect it.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Water Snake Fishing for Hognose

Heads up for a breath of fresh air
Last week we spent a 96 degree afternoon by the swimming hole in the shade of a sycamore.  Kids snorkeling and water fights were occasionally interrupted by the sight of a northern water snake poking its head out of a hole in the rock shelf to catch a breath and look around.  It was very patient and allowed us to get within a few feet for photographs.

Moving down the body to a head first grip
Quick, find the snake!
Later that afternoon, our nephew Jon followed it along the far shore line and saw it duck its head into the water and come up with a fish.  It swam to shore where its camouflage helped it remain inconspicuous.  Jon got an Iphone and captured this video of the snake swallowing a  juvenile northern hog sucker (Hypentelium nigricans).  The fish is the same diameter as the snake, but snakes can dislocate their jaws to engulf far larger prey.  You can watch as it bites it multiple times before maneuvering it around to get a head first grip.  Then it is "down the hatch" as you watch it move down the snake's body.
Beautiful visitor to our deck
Cruel fate
We discussed the northern water snake in this previous blog.  Over the years we regularly swam with a larger one which even came out on our deck 12 feet above the creek last year.  Unfortunately it was killed by a well-meaning visitor a few months later.  He saw it in the swimming hole near some children and thought it was a water moccasin, a species that we have never found in our creek.  All we have left now is its skin and fond memories.  It pays to be able to identify snakes for safety as well.  Ironically, this same swimming hole was the site of a misidentified copperhead snake bite in 2011 as described in this blog.

 Northern hogsucker - Brian Gratwicke CC
Now back to the poor northern hogsucker, the Rodney Dangerfield "get no respect" of the fish world.  Other names are now better, "hog molly" and "box head."  They are abundant in the Ozarks, generally found below riffles in streams of all sizes.  Its oversized head comes equipped with a vacuum cleaner mouth pointed downward.

The MDC Field Guide describes it as "An energetic feeder, overturning rocks and stirring up the bottom as it forages for immature aquatic insects and other bottom life with its fleshy, sucking lips.  Other fishes, especially the smallmouth bass, longear sunfish, and various minnows, commonly follow foraging hogsuckers to feed on the small organisms exposed by the hogsuckers' energetic rooting."

These hogsuckers live in clear water with gravel bottoms, the perfect description of our 8 foot deep swimming hole.  They are one of my favorite snorkel prey and they lay still on the bottom as you glide overhead, trying to spot it.  I rarely can find one until I am directly over it and it suddenly scoots away, not realizing that I am harmless. 

A good resource for the snakes of Missouri is on this Missouri Department of Conservation web page.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Ostracod Diner

Linda Bower has produced one of her finest water macro videos, matching action with music in a way that Beethoven would be proud of.  This one is of the larvae of a predaceous diving beetle that seems built to feed on ostracods.  For those of us unfamiliar with these species, this will take a lot of explaining.  First I am taking this directly from our 2017 blog posting about ostracods in a fountain.

Ostracods, a.k.a. seed shrimp, are tiny crustaceans that live in water.  They are an ancient species with 70,000 species identified but "only" 13,000 that have survived extinction.  They are common in fresh water, frequently in temporary pools and ponds.  Their eggs resist dehydration and can wait for months or many years before hatching with their next hydration.
Click to enlarge - Pionocypris vidua, -

Their flattened bodies lie within a bivalve structure similar to a mollusc.  They swim with their legs extended but can contract them and close their "shell" to protect themselves.  They lack a distinct abdomen and circulatory system but have antennae to seek out food (diatoms, bacteria and detritus) and mandibles and maxilla to obtain it.  I will leave the anatomical details to Wikipedia.

Here are what 5th grade WOLF students would call "Fun Facts"* although some might be R-rated.
  • Although fish eat ostracods, some may survive the passage through the gut.  One study showed that 26% of those eaten by a bluegill passed out the rectum alive. Who counts these things?
  • Many species reproduce parthenogenetically, i.e. without male fertilization, but some species have the largest sperm in the animal kingdom, up to 3.6 times longer that the adult's body.
  • Ostracods are the most abundantly preserved arthropod in the fossil record (500 million years) and boast the oldest known example of a fossilized penis, 425 million years ago.
  • Some species are bioluminescent, a defense mechanism seen in this video.  During WWII, Japanese troops collected and dried specimens, then rehydrated them to provide a dim light for map reading without giving away their location.
We described predaceous diving beetles back in 2013 when we were young(er) and innocent (sorta) in this blog.  We were describing large and menacing beetles with 2" larvae that can put a major hurt on a naive naturalist's finger.  At that time I impulsively grabbed a larva and had throbbing finger and swelling to remember it by.  These in Linda's video belong to a genus of 1-3 mm beetles that probably couldn't penetrate my skin but are genuinely ferocious under Linda's microscope.

Desmopachria beetle larva
It is hard remember that these larvae, resembling alligators are actually tiny.  In the video you will see them grabbing the ostracods and opening the bivalve "shell" like an oyster.   Once open they pull out the "meat" with the panache of a seafood gourmet at an oyster festival.  I almost expected to see it wipe its mandibles with a bib napkin.  The Desmopachria larva looks like it was designed to prey on ostracods.

 Desmopachria dispersa - Mike Quinn CC
Linda has identified these tiny beetle larvae as being in the genus Desmopachria.*  There are way over 100 species in this genus with more identified each year.  They can be collected by their attraction to black lights and mercury vapor lamps.  Only the adult beetles can be identified by species, the larvae are all just Desmopachria sp.

Her video features guest appearances by flatworms (they look blue under the LED lights) and a Nematode in the last clip.  For the big show you are now ready to see Desmopachria and the Ostracods!
Much more on fascinating ostracods 30 Interesting Ostracod Facts.
 * For more details on Desmopachria, download Water Beetles of Florida  5.53 This is a large comprehensive PDF.  For the Desmopachria basics, see this page 5.53.
Photographs are taken from Linda Bower's video.