Friday 25 July 2014

Jelly Horns of Acanthanura

Image: Andy Murray
Acanthanura sp.
This is what happens when you splice a hedgehog with a jelly bean.

Acanthanura is a small genus of Springtails containing just a handful of species all found in eastern Australia.

Image: Andy Murray
Acanthanura dendyi
You remember the Springtails, don't you? They're the tiny, six-legged arthropods who live in dark, damp places where they feast on soft, mouldy decay.

They usually live in soil and leaf litter but they're so small - just a few millimetres long - that there can be entire communities of them milling around in a single plant pot.

Image: Andy Murray
The order Poduromorpha contains all the podgy, Michelin Man Springtails. However, within that family is a subfamily called Uchidanurinae, which is chock full of spiky giants and other oddities.

Acanthanura is part of this subfamily. They can grow to over 1 cm (0.4 in) in length, which is at least twice as long as the vast majority of other Springtails. And then there are all those podgy lumps, podgy bumps, podgy spines and podgy spikes.

Image: Andy Murray
They even have a kind of podgy rhinoceros horn right between the eyes!

Turns out I simply adore the combination of podge and spikes.


TexWisGirl said...

nope! don't like these alien creatures! :)

Joseph JG said...

Awwww, but look at their little eye clusters!

Porakiya said...

Spikes make everyone thing better!

Joseph JG said...

Spikes and tentacles. The world can never have enough!

Unknown said...

Can they spring?

Joseph JG said...

Should do, yeah!