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Dicyrtomina ornata, Heesch, Netherlands Our garden, little as it may be, has been a valuable source of extreme macro subjects thus far. Yet this being November, the insect world is bracing for winter. Except perhaps for...winter insects.<br />
<br />
If it wasn&#039;t for our new laser-pen-obsessed cat forcing me outside, I&#039;d had no business there. For no particular reason I figured to do another gaze in the mini pond that I had been ignoring for weeks. These are just buckets of water dug into the ground. I pretty much let nature figure out what to do with this habitat.<br />
<br />
Eye ball almost meeting the water line, I normally look into the water. To see if anything moves down below. Being this very close to the water line, I noticed something tiny sitting on the surface itself. Arthropod-like but too small to the naked eye to decipher anything else.<br />
<br />
I carefully poured it into a petri dish and took it inside. I had a quick look in the viewfinder and rejoiced: a springtail! <br />
<br />
I know they exist. They are likely the most numerous of any insect species in our garden, yet thus far I&#039;ve never consciously seen one, let alone capture one. Probably because I wasn&#039;t trying very hard, yet also because of their small size. They are easy to overlook and even if detected, standard macro photography (1:1) would struggle to capture them in detail, depending on which species it concerns:<br />
<br />
<a href="https://www.collembola.org/images/hopkin/2005/megmin01.jpg" rel="nofollow">https://www.collembola.org/images/hopkin/2005/megmin01.jpg</a><br />
<br />
Both subjects are springtails. The small blob is a mere 0.25mm, the &quot;giant&quot; 6mm. The particular species on my photo has these dimensions:<br />
<br />
- body length (head to butt): 1.7mm<br />
- abdomen at widest point: 0.8mm<br />
- width of head, without antennae: 0.4mm<br />
<br />
As seen by the naked eye:<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104613/dicyrtomina_ornata_-_dimensions_heesch_netherlands.html" title="Dicyrtomina ornata - dimensions, Heesch, Netherlands"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/104613_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1609372810&Signature=lgsjiuwFuFavOAnqfkLD7fVcA9U%3D" width="114" height="152" alt="Dicyrtomina ornata - dimensions, Heesch, Netherlands This is a support image for this main post:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104612/dicyrtomina_ornata_heesch_netherlands.html<br />
This image shows the subject as seen by the naked eye. There&#039;s 2 springtails in the petri dish, the main photo concerns individual #1. With the petri dish having an exact diameter of 10cm, I was able to calculate the subject dimensions:<br />
<br />
- body length (head to butt): 1.7mm<br />
- abdomen at widest point: 0.8mm<br />
- width of head, without antennae: 0.4mm<br />
<br />
Although a simple process, I&#039;ll still explain this method of measuring. Using a measure tape, I measured the petri dish to be exactly 10cm in diameter. Next, I used the measurement tool in Photoshop, which allows you to draw a line between 2 points and see how many pixels it is. In this case, the 10cm diameter corresponds to 768 pixels.<br />
<br />
Therefore, 1 single pixel corresponds to 100mm (10cm) / 768 = 0.13mm in the real world. With this in mind, one can zoom deeply into the image and keep using Photoshop&#039;s ruler tool to draw lines on the subject itself. This will give back the amount of pixels, which we then multiply with 0.13mm. Dicyrtomina ornata" /></a></figure><br />
Capturing this tiny subject is challenging in multiple ways:<br />
<br />
- As I needed a diagonal angle into the petri dish, I went without the macro rail. Handheld 5:1 macro photography is...interesting. <br />
<br />
- Despite the subject being so little, depth of field at 5:1 is still too tiny. It&#039;s about 0.25mm. So you can&#039;t get the entire subject in focus. Increasing aperture is no solution. This particular lens is useless beyond f/5.6, f/8 tops.<br />
<br />
- Resolving power. Whilst I&#039;m generally very happy with this lens, clearly it&#039;s unable to resolve fine details at this magnification. The eye, as an example, would be about 0.08mm in size yet still make up hundreds of pixels on the D850&#039;s high resolution sensor. This glass, and probably most glass, can&#039;t resolve details that fine. It&#039;s not a problem for the typical subject (0.5 - 1cm), but this is another league.<br />
<br />
Luckily, the subject was strangely compliant. It&#039;s alive and unharmed. It didn&#039;t respond to my intense focus light and heavy flash. This is the best I was able to produce on day 1. I&#039;ll share a few more day 1 shots later. They are far worse, yet I&#039;ll use other angles to discuss characteristics of the species. <br />
<br />
On day 2, I actually tried to stack this subject. Results of that are also still to come.<br />
<br />
As for species ID, likely this is Dicyrtomina ornata. One of 3 winter species looking somewhat similar (the others are Dicyrtomina saundersi and Dicyrtomina minuta), based on this most excellent resource:<br />
<a href="http://www.janvanduinen.nl/collembola_a.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.janvanduinen.nl/collembola_a.html</a><br />
<br />
The decisive key in this case is the subject having a uniform antennae color, which sets it apart from Dicyrtomina saundersi.<br />
<br />
Update: anatomy discussion here:<br />
<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104641/dicyrtomina_ornata_anatomy.html" title="Dicyrtomina ornata anatomy"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/104641_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1609372810&Signature=nzKDOZsPXEA22pQXeJq0h5Ihels%3D" width="200" height="154" alt="Dicyrtomina ornata anatomy Here&#039;s a supplemental image of this springtail as a follow-up to this post:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104612/dicyrtomina_ornata_heesch_netherlands.html<br />
I&#039;ll use this side view to discuss a bit of anatomy regarding springtails.<br />
<br />
1. One thing that immediately stands out is that they are wingless. They spent their lives mostly in the soil, walking around.<br />
<br />
2. This particular order of springtails (Symphypleona) is characterized by the thorax and abdomen seemingly fused. This gives them the nick name &quot;globular springtails&quot;.<br />
<br />
3. Although out of focus in this shot, you can seen an &quot;extra&quot; appendage in between the legs, under the abdomen, pointing forward. It&#039;s not an oversized sexual organ, it&#039;s a &quot;furca&quot;. It&#039;s a fork-like tail that the creature uses to catapult itself away when threatened. Here&#039;s a much better photo showing this appendage:<br />
https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c3a4fee707eb3f27398521/1597767296030-CRKHIIO1BNTNO858DWCN/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kJRqFJ19D4P4EwsC9z3fiewUqsxRUqqbr1mOJYKfIPR7LoDQ9mXPOjoJoqy81S2I8N_N4V1vUb5AoIIIbLZhVYy7Mythp_T-mtop-vrsUOmeInPi9iDjx9w8K4ZfjXt2dkV64dCjSK7Zaaf7dwPYPO_gHf_vjqrS5WJoq1nmwotrP7cJNZlDXbgJNE9ef52e8w/Dicyrtomina+minuta+furca.jpeg?format=1500w<br />
<br />
4. Keep the previous image in view as it shows another critical appendage that gave them the name &quot;Collembola&quot;. On the underside, somewhere around where you imagine a neck or chest might be, is a tube-like appendage. This is called a collaphore. It is believed to be an important and versatile tools for all types of tasks...<br />
<br />
https://media.springernature.com/full/springer-static/image/art:10.1038/s41598-018-37354-4/MediaObjects/41598_2018_37354_Fig5_HTML.png?as=webp<br />
<br />
...which seem to include surface stabilization, drinking, and cleaning their own body, which is important given their soil life.<br />
<br />
5. Unlike insects, springtails are soft-bodied, they lack an exoskeleton. Basically, they have skin. Which is highly water and dirt repellant. They differ in other ways from insects, such as having internal mouth parts and eyes that are more like crustaceans. Dicyrtomina ornata,Europe,Extreme Macro,Netherlands,Springtail,World" /></a></figure><br />
Stacked image from day 2:<br />
<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104643/dicyrtomina_ornata_-_full_subject_crop.html" title="Dicyrtomina ornata - full subject (crop)"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2/104643_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1609372810&Signature=G56abLQevuvNzCXuq6%2FzIeYi7aQ%3D" width="200" height="174" alt="Dicyrtomina ornata - full subject (crop) https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104642/dicyrtomina_ornata_-_full_subject.html<br />
These images are taken on my second day of trying to capture this tiny springtail on camera. On day 1, I used a single shot approach using 5:1 macro:<br />
<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104612/dicyrtomina_ornata_heesch_netherlands.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104641/dicyrtomina_ornata_anatomy.html<br />
On this second day, I collected all my patience and courage to try and stack this subject, whilst alive. <br />
<br />
Given the odd angle into the water, I couldn&#039;t use my horizontal setup, instead had to put the entire macro rail and camera on a tripod, like so:<br />
<br />
https://scontent-amt2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/126094164_10158741261882692_7246136820373851144_o.jpg?_nc_cat=107&amp;ccb=2&amp;_nc_sid=730e14&amp;_nc_ohc=d5m19JERG6UAX99KeSb&amp;_nc_ht=scontent-amt2-1.xx&amp;oh=3e4926d9a6cd3c3fb581dec88150845b&amp;oe=5FDF0481<br />
<br />
The most difficult part is the positioning itself. The focus distance is so short that the lens almost touches the water or the edge of the petri dish, and I have to take into account the movement of the stacking process itself.<br />
<br />
Next, the stacking could begin. The first 3 attempts failed as the creature kept moving its antennae. A single movement ruins the stack. Furthermore, an annoying water flea kept bugging it. <br />
<br />
This is the only successful stack. Above all, it&#039;s a technical accomplishment, and not really an artistic one. The stacked image isn&#039;t really better, yet it does have the entire subject in focus. Unfortunately, just like the single shot results, fine details and sharpness are lacking due to optical limitations.<br />
<br />
And with that, I released them back into the pond. Dicyrtomina ornata,Extreme Macro" /></a></figure> Dicyrtomina ornata,Europe,Extreme Macro,Netherlands,Springtail,World Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

Dicyrtomina ornata, Heesch, Netherlands

Our garden, little as it may be, has been a valuable source of extreme macro subjects thus far. Yet this being November, the insect world is bracing for winter. Except perhaps for...winter insects.

If it wasn't for our new laser-pen-obsessed cat forcing me outside, I'd had no business there. For no particular reason I figured to do another gaze in the mini pond that I had been ignoring for weeks. These are just buckets of water dug into the ground. I pretty much let nature figure out what to do with this habitat.

Eye ball almost meeting the water line, I normally look into the water. To see if anything moves down below. Being this very close to the water line, I noticed something tiny sitting on the surface itself. Arthropod-like but too small to the naked eye to decipher anything else.

I carefully poured it into a petri dish and took it inside. I had a quick look in the viewfinder and rejoiced: a springtail!

I know they exist. They are likely the most numerous of any insect species in our garden, yet thus far I've never consciously seen one, let alone capture one. Probably because I wasn't trying very hard, yet also because of their small size. They are easy to overlook and even if detected, standard macro photography (1:1) would struggle to capture them in detail, depending on which species it concerns:

https://www.collembola.org/images/hopkin/2005/megmin01.jpg

Both subjects are springtails. The small blob is a mere 0.25mm, the "giant" 6mm. The particular species on my photo has these dimensions:

- body length (head to butt): 1.7mm
- abdomen at widest point: 0.8mm
- width of head, without antennae: 0.4mm

As seen by the naked eye:

Dicyrtomina ornata - dimensions, Heesch, Netherlands This is a support image for this main post:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104612/dicyrtomina_ornata_heesch_netherlands.html<br />
This image shows the subject as seen by the naked eye. There's 2 springtails in the petri dish, the main photo concerns individual #1. With the petri dish having an exact diameter of 10cm, I was able to calculate the subject dimensions:<br />
<br />
- body length (head to butt): 1.7mm<br />
- abdomen at widest point: 0.8mm<br />
- width of head, without antennae: 0.4mm<br />
<br />
Although a simple process, I'll still explain this method of measuring. Using a measure tape, I measured the petri dish to be exactly 10cm in diameter. Next, I used the measurement tool in Photoshop, which allows you to draw a line between 2 points and see how many pixels it is. In this case, the 10cm diameter corresponds to 768 pixels.<br />
<br />
Therefore, 1 single pixel corresponds to 100mm (10cm) / 768 = 0.13mm in the real world. With this in mind, one can zoom deeply into the image and keep using Photoshop's ruler tool to draw lines on the subject itself. This will give back the amount of pixels, which we then multiply with 0.13mm. Dicyrtomina ornata

Capturing this tiny subject is challenging in multiple ways:

- As I needed a diagonal angle into the petri dish, I went without the macro rail. Handheld 5:1 macro photography is...interesting.

- Despite the subject being so little, depth of field at 5:1 is still too tiny. It's about 0.25mm. So you can't get the entire subject in focus. Increasing aperture is no solution. This particular lens is useless beyond f/5.6, f/8 tops.

- Resolving power. Whilst I'm generally very happy with this lens, clearly it's unable to resolve fine details at this magnification. The eye, as an example, would be about 0.08mm in size yet still make up hundreds of pixels on the D850's high resolution sensor. This glass, and probably most glass, can't resolve details that fine. It's not a problem for the typical subject (0.5 - 1cm), but this is another league.

Luckily, the subject was strangely compliant. It's alive and unharmed. It didn't respond to my intense focus light and heavy flash. This is the best I was able to produce on day 1. I'll share a few more day 1 shots later. They are far worse, yet I'll use other angles to discuss characteristics of the species.

On day 2, I actually tried to stack this subject. Results of that are also still to come.

As for species ID, likely this is Dicyrtomina ornata. One of 3 winter species looking somewhat similar (the others are Dicyrtomina saundersi and Dicyrtomina minuta), based on this most excellent resource:
http://www.janvanduinen.nl/collembola_a.html

The decisive key in this case is the subject having a uniform antennae color, which sets it apart from Dicyrtomina saundersi.

Update: anatomy discussion here:

Dicyrtomina ornata anatomy Here's a supplemental image of this springtail as a follow-up to this post:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104612/dicyrtomina_ornata_heesch_netherlands.html<br />
I'll use this side view to discuss a bit of anatomy regarding springtails.<br />
<br />
1. One thing that immediately stands out is that they are wingless. They spent their lives mostly in the soil, walking around.<br />
<br />
2. This particular order of springtails (Symphypleona) is characterized by the thorax and abdomen seemingly fused. This gives them the nick name "globular springtails".<br />
<br />
3. Although out of focus in this shot, you can seen an "extra" appendage in between the legs, under the abdomen, pointing forward. It's not an oversized sexual organ, it's a "furca". It's a fork-like tail that the creature uses to catapult itself away when threatened. Here's a much better photo showing this appendage:<br />
https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c3a4fee707eb3f27398521/1597767296030-CRKHIIO1BNTNO858DWCN/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kJRqFJ19D4P4EwsC9z3fiewUqsxRUqqbr1mOJYKfIPR7LoDQ9mXPOjoJoqy81S2I8N_N4V1vUb5AoIIIbLZhVYy7Mythp_T-mtop-vrsUOmeInPi9iDjx9w8K4ZfjXt2dkV64dCjSK7Zaaf7dwPYPO_gHf_vjqrS5WJoq1nmwotrP7cJNZlDXbgJNE9ef52e8w/Dicyrtomina+minuta+furca.jpeg?format=1500w<br />
<br />
4. Keep the previous image in view as it shows another critical appendage that gave them the name "Collembola". On the underside, somewhere around where you imagine a neck or chest might be, is a tube-like appendage. This is called a collaphore. It is believed to be an important and versatile tools for all types of tasks...<br />
<br />
https://media.springernature.com/full/springer-static/image/art:10.1038/s41598-018-37354-4/MediaObjects/41598_2018_37354_Fig5_HTML.png?as=webp<br />
<br />
...which seem to include surface stabilization, drinking, and cleaning their own body, which is important given their soil life.<br />
<br />
5. Unlike insects, springtails are soft-bodied, they lack an exoskeleton. Basically, they have skin. Which is highly water and dirt repellant. They differ in other ways from insects, such as having internal mouth parts and eyes that are more like crustaceans. Dicyrtomina ornata,Europe,Extreme Macro,Netherlands,Springtail,World

Stacked image from day 2:

Dicyrtomina ornata - full subject (crop) https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104642/dicyrtomina_ornata_-_full_subject.html<br />
These images are taken on my second day of trying to capture this tiny springtail on camera. On day 1, I used a single shot approach using 5:1 macro:<br />
<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104612/dicyrtomina_ornata_heesch_netherlands.html<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/104641/dicyrtomina_ornata_anatomy.html<br />
On this second day, I collected all my patience and courage to try and stack this subject, whilst alive. <br />
<br />
Given the odd angle into the water, I couldn't use my horizontal setup, instead had to put the entire macro rail and camera on a tripod, like so:<br />
<br />
https://scontent-amt2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/126094164_10158741261882692_7246136820373851144_o.jpg?_nc_cat=107&ccb=2&_nc_sid=730e14&_nc_ohc=d5m19JERG6UAX99KeSb&_nc_ht=scontent-amt2-1.xx&oh=3e4926d9a6cd3c3fb581dec88150845b&oe=5FDF0481<br />
<br />
The most difficult part is the positioning itself. The focus distance is so short that the lens almost touches the water or the edge of the petri dish, and I have to take into account the movement of the stacking process itself.<br />
<br />
Next, the stacking could begin. The first 3 attempts failed as the creature kept moving its antennae. A single movement ruins the stack. Furthermore, an annoying water flea kept bugging it. <br />
<br />
This is the only successful stack. Above all, it's a technical accomplishment, and not really an artistic one. The stacked image isn't really better, yet it does have the entire subject in focus. Unfortunately, just like the single shot results, fine details and sharpness are lacking due to optical limitations.<br />
<br />
And with that, I released them back into the pond. Dicyrtomina ornata,Extreme Macro

    comments (11)

  1. Wow! What else to say. Posted 6 days ago
    1. Thanks :) Another for the bucket list. Posted 6 days ago
  2. Awesome capture!! I love surprises like this! Posted 6 days ago
    1. Thanks so much! For me its the discovery of a new category entirely. Although I know it existed before, it somehow doesn't truly land without seeing it yourself. Posted 6 days ago
      1. That would be what I call a "squee" moment! :D Posted 6 days ago
        1. Squee - "A noise primarily made by an over-excited fangirl"

          Yes that, but the "making of" process largely was grunts and excessive swearing to the level it would make Gordon Ramsey blush and traumatize old sailors.
          Posted 6 days ago
          1. Bahaha! Swearing is sometimes a necessary means to an end. We definitely do a lot of it around our household. Posted 6 days ago
  3. Great find, Ferdy! We don't know how many unidentified and undiscovered species are just around us! Posted 5 days ago
    1. Thanks, and so true! Posted 5 days ago
  4. Wow! Spectacular! Posted 3 days ago
    1. Thanks! Posted 3 days ago

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Dicyrtomina ornata is one of the small "globular" Springtails (Collembola) from the family Dicyrtomidae. Within its distribution range it is easily found in leaf litter from late fall to early spring. It can be confused with other species of Dicyrtomina, most notably with D. saundersi.

Similar species: Symphypleona
Species identified by Ferdy Christant
View Ferdy Christant's profile

By Ferdy Christant

All rights reserved
Uploaded Nov 19, 2020. Captured Nov 14, 2020 17:34.
  • NIKON D850
  • f/1.2
  • 1/60s
  • ISO64
  • 50mm