British springtails, Dog's mercury, Melampsora populnea, Merculiaris perennis, rust fungus, rust on Dog's mercury, springtail, springtail feeding on rust fungus
We’ve seen springtails and slime a couple of times previously on this blog; now here’s the next instalment in the springtails series: springtails and rust fungi. I spotted this rust, Melampsora populnea, on Dog’s mercury (Merculiaris perennis) during yesterday’s walk. From the top of the leaf, all you see is a small area of puckering and some pale spots (near the hole on the leaf in the lower part of the first photograph below). But, on the underside of the leaf, it’s a different story, with the orange blobs typical of a rust fungus.
At the time, I didn’t notice the tiny creatures munching on the fungus, neither the minuscule orange ones nor the relatively large pale orange ones. I presume the smaller ones are the offspring of the larger, which are definitely springtails, though I don’t know which species of Collembola these are, and my photos aren’t precise enough to identify them more precisely.
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