Tasmania – Predators in the Mulch

2014 March 1

The creatures posted so far that I found in the blueberry mulch are mostly mild-mannered detrivores, eating various bits of rotting things. But, there are others there to feed on the detrivores. Like this rather pretty little cobweb-weaver spider:

Between the cold, and the disturbance of me uncovering it, it kept its legs scrunched up so that I couldn’t see its face. I do like the delicate white lines on the black background, though.

I’m not having much luck identifying this one, other than being pretty sure that it’s something in the family Theridiidae.

And this next specimen is some kind of ground beetle, moderate-sized (about a third of an inch long)(and just next to it, you can see one of those tiny little pauropodans that I included in the millipede post last week).

The facing shot didn’t come out as clear as I would like, partly because of some webbing that the beetle was running its snout into (probably old spider webbing).

I did want to get a better look at the mandibles, but here’s the best enhancement of the photo I could manage. It looks like it does have the sickle-like predatory mandibles of a predatory beetle, and not the chewing mandibles of a debris feeder.

Overall, it looks most similar to the ground beetles in the genus Pseudoceneus, which “Insects of Tasmania” says is “a predatory carabid associated with water”. That sounds about right.

One Response
  1. March 1, 2014

    Caesar! Beware the Ides of Mulch!

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