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Small animals in the French Pyrenees

Auberge les Myrtilles, early in the morning
Auberge les Myrtilles, early in the morning

On the photo above the inn from Anouk en René Kesseleer in Salau/Couflens, an excellent place to spend your vacation. This nice stay served as a starting point for the walks in the area.


 


Springtails, Collembola


Bilobella aurantiaca

The identification of the animal in the photo is uncertain, it can also be a light form of Bilobella braunerae because there is something of red on the head. Under a piece of dead wood this species sat together with Monobella grassei and Deutonura monticola.

Bilobella aurantiaca or Bilobella braunerae
Bilobella aurantiaca or Bilobella braunerae

Bilobella aurantiaca or Bilobella braunerae
Bilobella aurantiaca or Bilobella braunerae

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Deutonura monticola

A big species 2,5 tot 3 mm, with a blue gray color.

Deutonura monticola
Deutonura monticola

Deutonura monticola
Deutonura monticola

Deutonura monticola
Deutonura monticola

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Monobella grassei

This species has also been found in the Netherlands since 2016. The animals are yellow white in color, especially the young ones are almost white. I usually find them in very wet places.

Monobella grassei
Monobella grassei

Monobella grassei
Monobella grassei

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Orchesella arcuata

Among stones on the side of a mountain road I find a species that looks a lot like Orchesella cincta, but the drawing is clearly different. It appears to beOrchesella arcuata. Between two yellow cross lines a completely black segment and behind it a light colored segment with a black line almost at the back.

Orchesella arcuata, juvenile
Orchesella arcuata, juvenile

Orchesella arcuata, juvenile
Orchesella arcuata, juvenile

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Orchesella spec

Without knowing it, I photographed a new Orchesella for science on 16-6-2018. I sent the pictures to Frans Janssens on 9-4-2019 who did not recognize the animal as such. On 5-8-2019, a photo collage of the same species will be placed on Flickr.com by Sun Tiky, who will be appointed by Frans Janssens: Orchesella sp. nov2 Janssens & Tiky 2019. The second picture was taken by me on 25-6-2019. The species is characterized by the interrupted side line.

Orchesella spec
Orchesella spec

Orchesella spec
Orchesella spec

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Dicyrtomina violacea

Under an old plank I see a Dicyrtomina minuta and a species that looks like Dicyrtomina ornata but this one has a completely yellow head and the dark spot on the back of the body doesn't look good either. After comparing the pictures on www.collembola.org I think it's Dicyrtomina violacea, which is later confirmed by Frans Janssens. The animal is not yet mature.

Dicyrtomina violacea, juvenile
Dicyrtomina violacea, juvenile

Dicyrtomina violacea, juvenile
Dicyrtomina violacea, juvenile

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Sminthurinus sp 6

This is a very special species, it is a very small fast-running animal, a disaster for the macro photographer, hence some not quite sharp photos. The special thing about this species is that it is probably a new species for science. The opinion of Frans Janssens: I could not find a lookalike image in Bretfeld 1999. So it could be something new. Flickr.com

Sminthurinus spec.
Sminthurinus spec.

Sminthurinus spec.
Sminthurinus spec.

Sminthurinus spec.
Sminthurinus spec.

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Sminthurinus signatus

We don't know this species in the Netherlands. It is a very small animal that jumps away quickly if you move a little too much.

Sminthurinus signatus
Sminthurinus signatus

Sminthurinus signatus
Sminthurinus signatus

Sminthurinus signatus
Sminthurinus signatus

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Caprainea marginata

I also see this springtail under an old plank. It is a very small and fast moving animal with many spines on its head. The species is very variable in color.

Caprainea marginata
Caprainea marginata

Caprainea marginata
Caprainea marginata

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Earwigs, Dermaptera


Pseudochelidura sinuata

I see an earwig walking on a large rock high in the Pyrenees, very fast. The animal is quite large, the total length without the scissors is approximately 19 mm. You can see from the large scissors that it is a male animal. Apparently the species is not seen much: Le Monde des insectes with only a few observations from the same area where I found it.

Pseudochelidura sinuata ♂
Pseudochelidura sinuata ♂

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Millipedes, Diplopoda


Acopauropus of Trachypauropus

In a publication by Dr. Scheller you can read that 15 different species of this group have been found in the Ariège. (Scheller, 1996). According to Jean-Jacques Geoffroy the animals on the photo are of the family Eurypauropodidae, of the genus Acopauropus or of the genus Trachypauropus, both are found in France. They are animals of only a few mm in length. I've found several of them, but I can't really see any difference, except between the two specimens of the photographs below, but I suppose the light and even smaller one in the bottom two pictures is a young animal, although I'm not sure.

Acopauropus of Trachypauropus
Acopauropus of Trachypauropus

Acopauropus of Trachypauropus
Acopauropus of Trachypauropus

Acopauropus of Trachypauropus
Acopauropus of Trachypauropus

Acopauropus of Trachypauropus
Acopauropus of Trachypauropus

Acopauropus of Trachypauropus
Acopauropus of Trachypauropus

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Glomeris intermedia

There are two species of Glomeris in the Netherlands: Glomeris marginata common and Glomeris intermedia rare. In France there are many more species, but beware the color is variable. A fixed feature are the lines on the second back shield (the largest shield).

Glomeris intermedia
Glomeris intermedia

Glomeris intermedia
Glomeris intermedia

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Glomeris marginata

Glomeris marginata
Glomeris marginata

Glomeris marginata
Glomeris marginata

Glomeris marginata
Glomeris marginata

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Trachysphaera pyrenaica

The first time I found this animal, I thought it was a dead dehydrated Glomeris, until it started to walk. The Duborget key only says Trachysphaera lobata Fauna Europaea listed for France also Trachysphaera pyrenaica. The solution comes from the French experts. It is an endemic species of the Central Pyrenees which is already known from the valley of Salau-Couflens from the cirque d'Anglade. The difference with T. lobata is in the rear shields in front of the end shield that carry only one row of grains where the species from the Massif Central has two rows.

Trachysphaera pyrenaica
Trachysphaera pyrenaica

Trachysphaera pyrenaica
Trachysphaera pyrenaica

Trachysphaera pyrenaica
Trachysphaera pyrenaica

Trachysphaera pyrenaica
Trachysphaera pyrenaica

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Hirudisoma latum

This is a small species, up to 6 mm long and 2.3 mm wide, only two and a half times as long as wide, with a maximum of 28 segments. (Bröllemann, 1935). I am not entirely sure about the determination, there is also Hirudisoma pyrenaeum in the same area.

Hirudisoma latum
Hirudisoma latum

Hirudisoma latum
Hirudisoma latum

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Lophoproctus lucidus

A very nice little millipede is Lophoproctus lucidus. I found these under a piece of dead wood under boxwood bushes. There were a number of animals of different sizes in the crevices of the wood. They crawled away rather quickly and I was only able to take a small number of pictures. It took me a lot of effort to find out the name, but the French experts helped me.

Lophoproctus lucidus
Lophoproctus lucidus

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Polyxenus lagurus

This species is also found in the Netherlands, but it is such a beautiful species that I have included these photos from France. In the Netherlands often under bark of pine trees, in France I found it under stones.

Polyxenus lagurus
Polyxenus lagurus

Polyxenus lagurus
Polyxenus lagurus

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Terrestrial Woodlice, Isopoda


Common Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare

In France I have been surprised by the size of this species, they are much larger in France than in the Netherlands. At first I thought it would be a different species. With Woodlice it is a matter of taking a good picture of the head and tail (telson), completed with a picture from above you usually have enough to give the species a name. The color is very variable.

Common Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare
Common Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare

Common Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare
Common Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare

Common Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgare
Common Pill Woodlouse, Armadillidium vulgtiropyreare

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Porcellio monticola

This is a species that reminds me of Oniscus asellus but the last antenna member here consists of only two parts and of three at Oniscus asellus. I found the animal on the bank of the river just before the auberge, between the long grass under a branch.

Porcellio monticola
Porcellio monticola

Porcellio monticola
Porcellio monticola

Porcellio monticola
Porcellio monticola

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Porcellio gallicus

This is a nice shiny solid species with a busy drawing, I haven't found much of it, but most of the time there were several of them under a stone.

Porcellio gallicus
Porcellio gallicus

Porcellio gallicus
Porcellio gallicus

Porcellio gallicus
Porcellio gallicus

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Tiroloscia pyrenaica

As with Oniscus asellus, the last antenna member here consists of three parts. An easy recognition point are the light spots on the tail segments. This species is common in the Salau area.

Tiroloscia pyrenaica
Tiroloscia pyrenaica

Tiroloscia pyrenaica
Tiroloscia pyrenaica

Tiroloscia pyrenaica
Tiroloscia pyrenaica

Tiroloscia pyrenaica
Tiroloscia pyrenaica

Tiroloscia pyrenaica
Tiroloscia pyrenaica

Tiroloscia pyrenaica
Tiroloscia pyrenaica

In June 2019 we even see an albinistic specimen of this species.

Tiroloscia pyrenaica
Tiroloscia pyrenaica

Tiroloscia pyrenaica
Tiroloscia pyrenaica

Tiroloscia pyrenaica
Tiroloscia pyrenaica

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Sphaerobathytropa ribauti

A small species that looks hairy with the many protrusions on the shields.

Sphaerobathytropa ribauti
Sphaerobathytropa ribauti

Sphaerobathytropa ribauti
Sphaerobathytropa ribauti

Sphaerobathytropa ribauti
Sphaerobathytropa ribauti

Sphaerobathytropa ribauti
Sphaerobathytropa ribauti

Sphaerobathytropa ribauti
Sphaerobathytropa ribauti

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Oritoniscus flavus

In June 2019 I found beautiful red woodlouse in several places. These animals reminded me of the Striped Woodlouse, they were about the same size and the same speed.

Oritoniscus flavus
Oritoniscus flavus

Oritoniscus flavus
Oritoniscus flavus

Oritoniscus flavus
Oritoniscus flavus

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Schorpioenvliegen, Mecoptera


Panorpa meridionalis

A scorpion fly that occurs in the south west of France and clearly differs from the species found in the Netherlands. The spots in the wings are very strong, the head color is red as with P. cognata, that just has a very light drawing in the wings. The chestpiece has an orange-like color and is yellow with the other species. I found this species in the Cirque d'Anclade a beautiful valley with a waterfall near Salau.

Panorpa meridionalis ♀
Panorpa meridionalis ♀

Panorpa meridionalis ♂
Panorpa meridionalis ♂

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Harvestmen, Opiliones

overview species:


Mitostoma pyraeneum

A very small, but beautiful, species. Found on a large rock under the trees close to a stream.

Mitostoma pyraeneum
Mitostoma pyraeneum

Mitostoma pyraeneum
Mitostoma pyraeneum

Mitostoma pyraeneum
Mitostoma pyraeneum

Mitostoma pyraeneum, juvenile
Mitostoma pyraeneum, juvenile

Mitostoma pyraeneum, juvenile
Mitostoma pyraeneum, juvenile

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Nemastomella bacillifera

The Nemastomella group can be found in Spain, Portugal and France. The animal of the picture I found under an old plank next to the Auberge Les Myrtilles in Salau, the place is located at an altitude of 850 meters. It is a very small harvestman, body length less than 2 mm.

Nemastomella bacillifera
Nemastomella bacillifera

Nemastomella bacillifera
Nemastomella bacillifera

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Dicranopalpus cf. pyrenaeus

With this species there are still some uncertainties about the name, which I hope to find out soon. The pictures are of not yet mature specimens. The forked palps are characteristic for this genus.

Dicranopalpus cf. pyrenaeus, juvenile
Dicranopalpus cf. pyrenaeus, juvenile

Dicranopalpus cf. pyrenaeus, juvenile
Dicranopalpus cf. pyrenaeus, juvenile

Dicranopalpus cf. pyrenaeus, juvenile
Dicranopalpus cf. pyrenaeus, juvenile

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Megabunus diadema

Megabunus diadema I find a beautiful species, with its fantastic eye hillock. It is a fairly small harvestman with a body length of up to 4 mm. They are mainly found on the large granite blocks on which some moss grows. If you walk up to a block of stone like that, you'll see a very perky little harvestman running away. In order to enjoy its beautiful appearance, you will have to enlarge it considerably. Reproduction is usually parthenogenetic, so usually only female. They occur in the Pyrenees (France and Spain), France on the Channel coast, Ireland, England and Norway.

Megabunus diadema
Megabunus diadema

Megabunus diadema
Megabunus diadema

Megabunus diadema
Megabunus diadema

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Scotolemon lespesi

At a distance of less than 200 meters behind the Auberge Les Myrtilles I find under a dead branch on the ground a small harvestman of a shape that I don't know from The Netherlands. After a lot of searching I get the name of the animal with the help of Hay Wijnhoven. There appear to be two very similar species in Ariège. One species lives in the open and another in caves. This animal was found outside and is therefore Scotolemon lespesi the cave species is Scotolemon lucasi this one is lighter in color and there is also a lot of overlap between the two species. (Martens. Lingnau. 1985)

Scotolemon lespesi
Scotolemon lespesi

Scotolemon lespesi
Scotolemon lespesi

Scotolemon lespesi
Scotolemon lespesi

Scotolemon lespesi
Scotolemon lespesi

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Homalenotus quadridentatus

Characteristic are the four protruding thorns at the back of the body and the large thorn in front of the eye hillock. It is a very rare species in the Netherlands. On the body there are hairs so that sand and other small things stick to it, so they are very well camouflaged. This species is 3.5 to 4 mm long, on the bottom two pictures you see a springtail on the underside of the harvestman, it is a Sminthurinus signatus see also the springtails.

Homalenotus quadridentatus
Homalenotus quadridentatus

Homalenotus quadridentatus
Homalenotus quadridentatus

Homalenotus quadridentatus
Homalenotus quadridentatus

Homalenotus quadridentatus
Homalenotus quadridentatus

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Anelasmocephalus cambridgei

To my great surprise I find in June 2019 two times an Anelasmocephalus cambridgei. With a lot of effort I found a specimen of this small species in the Netherlands by sieving out the forest soil near Winterswijk at a well-known location. It is to be distinguished of the other species Trogulidae by the long hairs on the legs and its more round body shapes.

Anelasmocephalus cambridgei
Anelasmocephalus cambridgei

Anelasmocephalus cambridgei
Anelasmocephalus cambridgei

Anelasmocephalus cambridgei, long hairs on the legs
Anelasmocephalus cambridgei, long hairs on the legs

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Trogulus closanicus

In the vicinity of Salau you often see troughulus species and I find it very difficult to recognize the species. I am not entirely sure about this determination.

Trogulus closanicus
Trogulus closanicus

Trogulus closanicus
Trogulus closanicus

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank some people for their help in naming the species
Anne Kediet, Arp Kruithof and Matty Berg for their help with earwigs, woodlice and millipedes.
Frans Janssens for his help with the springtails.
Hay Wijnhoven for his help with the harvestmen.
Jean-Jacques Geoffroy, Jean-Paul Mauriès and Monique Nquyen Duy for their help with the millipedes.

 

References