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Mesofauna


  The wonderful world
  of soil mesofauna

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Mesofauna


  The wonderful world
  of soil mesofauna

 

 

So, what are the mesofauna?
 

In soil science, the mesofauna are usually defined as invertebrates, sized between 0.1 mm and 2 mm, although some references increase this to 10 mm.
Microfauna, such as protozoa and nematodes inhabit the smaller world below 0.1 mm. They exhibit animal-like characteristics, and many are as yet undescribed.
The macrofauna loosely defines anything bigger than 2 mm, from woodlice, worms, and ants to badgers and anyone digging a tunnel.

As with most things in soil science, dividing soil animals into groups like micro, meso and macro are an easy though artificial way to roughly describe the complicated links and interactions between one of the most ancient collections of terrestrial arthropods.

 
 


As my initial and ongoing interest in this tiny, wonderful world has been focused on Collembola, I'm including the full diversity of springtail sizes, not just the small, soil-dwelling mesofauna ones, as they're all incredible animals. I promise that the true mesofauna don't mind.
I did try getting the giant Collembola into small wigs and mesofauna costumes but they weren't up for it. 


Although my first love will always be Collembola, the other members of the mesofauna are just as interesting and unusual. Common members include the Acari/mites and Symphyla, Diplura, Protura, Nematoda, Pauropoda, Enchytraeidae, a light scattering of pseudoscorpions, and midge and gnat larvae such as the Forcipomyiinae and Mycetophilidae.
Usually, the mesofauna tend to be colourless, eyeless and practically invisible to the naked eye, as they feel their way through pores and tiny gaps between soil particles, being too small to make their own holes. Mites and Collembola are often the gloriously colourful exceptions. 

The mesofauna help in the breakdown of plant material and nutrient cycling, and are often important indicators of soil health, as well as prey/food for many larger animals. They also contribute a lot of faecal matter to the soil, increasing fertility as well as making nutrients available for other organisms.

 

 

 

A chaos of delight
 

This website was set up to have as complete an overview of the mesofauna as possible, within the limits of what I find funny. The information contained within is as up to date as possible.
The photographs are all ©Andy Murray apart from two...
I am available for photography work and Collembola/mesofauna info and consultation, just contact me through the website. 

Thanks to all the people that have helped me in so many ways to pursue my passion for photography and the micro world, as well as generously offering me an education in their own fields of expertise. Their help with understanding many of the mesofauna described on this website as well as kindly correcting my many mistakes is also gratefully acknowledged. 

 

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Mesofauna overview link 1


  Space, science
  and the mesofauna
read more...

Mesofauna overview link 1


  Space, science
  and the mesofauna
read more...

2016-02-06-18.50.48 ZS retouched.jpg

Collembola link 1


  Collembola

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Collembola link 1


  Collembola

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Protura link 1


  Protura

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Protura link 1


  Protura

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Diplura link 1


  Diplura

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Diplura link 1


  Diplura

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Mites link


  Acari/Mites

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Mites link


  Acari/Mites

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Pseudoscorpions link


  Pseudoscorpions

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Pseudoscorpions link


  Pseudoscorpions

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Pauropoda link 1


  Pauropoda

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Pauropoda link 1


  Pauropoda

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Symphyla link 1


  Symphyla

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Symphyla link 1


  Symphyla

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Forcipomyiinae link 1


  Forcipomiinae

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Forcipomyiinae link 1


  Forcipomiinae

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Other soil animals link 1


  Other soil animals

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Other soil animals link 1


  Other soil animals

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