Diary of a Young Naturalist – Life on the Surface Tension

20.05.18 – My garden – bucket pond, heavy cloud and drizzle.

One of most wonderful joys of being a young naturalist, interested and curious about all creatures – is watching how different species interact. The perfect and most accessible habitat to do this is by watching ponds, in particular our little cauldron pond and more magic happened today!

The Springtail goes on a little jolly reconnaissance to the water surface tension (this is like a thick skin to the insect, which is so small) blissfully unaware of what is patrolling the underside of the tension – waiting for a clueless victim. The Water Boatman is propelled by two oar like legs, swimming upside down with its piercing mouthparts (stylet) upward, ready to attack. It was so brilliant to watch the interactions between the Water Boatman and the Springtail! You can see the action of the springing tail – this is propelled by the abdominal tail like appendage called the furcula. The Springtail is so fast and the Water Boatman so gracefully crazed, it was great to wile away an hour just looking at their antics.

I love this segment about Springtails in my dad’s old Observer book –

The last time I looked, later on in the day, the Springtail was alive and well, but for how long…who knows! Our tadpoles are getting bigger by the day too, oh the joy of the humble cauldron pond. Once again full of magic!

Thanks for reading



  1. Loved the video, Dara, thanks. The tiny things are so fascinating. All politicians should spend an hour a week doing what you do, they might make better decisions!


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