Monday, August 31, 2009

Interesting inverts - Slater invasion!

I was woken in the night while camped beside the Ward river by raindrops on my face. I had to hurriedly get up and erect my tarp, and then couldn't get back to sleep. I soon heard a strange rushing noise - sort of like raindrops on still water (made sense as I was by the river, but the rain wasn't falling on the tarp anymore). Wind in the trees? No, it was coming from ground level. I grabbed my torch and was about to step out of the tent to investigate when I discovered what the sound was.

Slaters. Thousands upon thousands of them. Right outside my tent. They were massing along the ground in great streams. That's what the sound was - millions of little feet walking along the clay soil.

Stepping out of the tent gingerly I investigated further.

As well as the migrating hordes there were massed bunches here and there where they'd found something on the ground that I'd poured out when cooking:

I couldn't work out where they'd come from or whether they had any particular destination in mind. Why were they in such high density right here?

1 comment:

Ken said...

It's a trial run in a remote area for their plan for world domination.

A saw a similar thing with moths on Hinchinbrook Island. Overnight huge numbers appeared as a result of some sort of synchronous hatching (may not be right term). I assume it is a strategy to overwhelm predators.