One of the really cool things about my son, I mean really, really cool, is that he's curious about the world about him. I don't know about you, but I can't think of many qualities I want more in my children. Whenever friends have children, and I write them a note or comment about it I usually address it to the baby. And I almost always write something along the lines of "never stop looking at the world through a child's eyes." Always stay curious.
So Travis, looks, and sees interesting flowers, and birds, and he looks under rocks. There is a whole world under rocks, even in the High Arctic.
This weekend, at the Fish Derby, we were hiking the hills above the river because they were littered with shells. He picked up a bag full of them, always something that caught his eye. A pattern, or a colour, or the shape. He went to sleep clutching his favourite spiraling shell (which I really must endevour to identify) at night.
But he also flipped over rocks, delighting in the life underneath. Here are a couple of photos, which I know leave a lot to be desired quality wise, of some Springtails found under one such rock. In the first, you can see two types of springtails, a smaller red one and a larger black one. There are also some red mites in the photo, but they're really hard to pick out.
The second is a more cropped photo of two of the larger black springtails. I should add that I believe they are springtails, but could easily be proven wrong. There was also a tiny tiny fly in one of the shells he picked up, lethargic in the cold.
Speaking of cold, High Arctic springtails use a really interesting means of surviving the freezing temperatures. They dry out. Completely. They reduce the moisture in their bodies to almost zero, thereby avoiding the cell wall puncturing frost crystals that would otherwise form and kill them.