Over the weekend, a nighttime stroll in the forests of the Northern Range revealed a previously hidden, alien world – to us at least. We’re all aliens somewhere else, right? I’ve maintained over the years that once you look through a macro lens, you will never see things the same way again.
For starters, even on a quiet night (as it was on Saturday night) close inspection of any microcosm within the forest encourages nature to raise her curtains. Slowly, things begin to take shape. Odd shapes I must say, but shapes nonetheless. What seems to be a disc with eight legs is actually a Harvestman. Eye-level is a powerful view as always.
Although I had initially thought this was a form of whip-scorpion, I believe that it is simply another species of Harvestman. From what I’ve read thus far, they do come in various forms, however they all have the same two-partitioned body and eight legs. Like spiders, their pedipalps are variable across species, and serve as tactile organs. Here this particular individual is being attacked by parasitic mites (the red bulbous attachments).
The unmistakable movements of a measuring worm caught my eye. I hadn’t seen one of these in ages! Less than an inch long, this one froze for a few precious seconds to let me get my shot.
Someone suggested after some time that we should probably check the leaves that were gently caressing our backs as we concentrated on the ground, we were probably being dusted with innumerable creatures in the darkness. A casual glance let us know that yes, that was indeed a possibility. Oh well, nobody died.
And even though the plural of Mongoose is not Mongeese, the plural of Harvestman is indeed Harvestmen. There were many of them out that night, we saw lots of interactions, even caught two Harvestmen mating. They broke it up just as we got our lights on them, though. One thing that struck me even more than the mere fact of being able to see this creature’s horned face was the completely intricate patterns all over its body.
Of course, the ants were also out in full glory, busy as always.
Comfortably tucked away was perhaps one of the most important sights of the trip, a Velvet Worm. This was only the second time I had ever seen one of these prehistoric creatures. What a thrill! Really happy I was able to photograph these fascinating creatures, of course with the invaluable help of good friends with bright lights 🙂