Exploration and curiosity are amazing traits that you should always explore and fulfill. While exploring outdoors, whether at the park or even in your own backyard, you can discover an amazing variety of life if you look in the right place. Many tiny insects and other invertebrates live in controlled habitats that you can easily discover by simply peering beneath a rock or a log.
Microhabitats Hidden Beneath Rocks and Logs
The damp space beneath a rock or a log can contain its own microhabitat. This space, though small, contains numerous living organisms. From ants and other insects to creatures invisible to the naked eye, such as bacteria, the spaces beneath rocks and logs can contain a tiny world and ecosystem all their own.
With this in mind, please always use extreme caution when exploring these microhabitats. Numerous tiny bugs might scatter to safety when you lift their hiding place, but an accidental drop of the rock or log can damage or kill the inhabitants beneath. You should also use gloves when exploring beneath rocks and stones, as the creatures beneath could potentially pose a danger to you, such as spiders or scorpions.
Insects and Other Invertebrates
Numerous creatures live beneath rocks, from tiny insects to larger vertebrate animals with skeletal structures such as frogs. However, many of the creatures that you would call an "insect" might not be related to insects closely at all! One great example is spiders. Spiders are creepy-crawlies that might look like insects, but they're actually in the taxonomic class Arachnida.
Insects That Live Under Rocks
Many true insects live beneath rocks and logs or in the soil around them. Depending on where you live, you can find an immense range of different insects living beneath rocks. Different types of insects live in different areas, but you can commonly find most of the following beneath rocks and logs across the United States:
- Ants: Some species will build colonies beneath rocks or decaying logs. Use caution to avoid bites in these instances.
- Beetles: You can find an immense variety of different species ranging in color and size beneath rocks and logs.
- Crickets: Well known for the chirping song of the males of many species, these grasshopper-like insects commonly hide beneath rocks during the daytime before emerging at night.
- Springtails: If you find white bugs under rocks, and those bugs hop, you've likely come across springtails.
- Earwigs: These flattened insects have a pair of pincer appendages on the rear-end of their body that they use to catch prey.
Other Invertebrates That Live Under Rocks
Insects are far from the only invertebrates you'll discover beneath rocks and logs. You can find a wide range of other creatures, from slimy slugs to eight-legged spiders. Again, the type of creatures you might experience beneath rocks varies based on where you live. With that in mind, you can find many of the following invertebrates beneath rocks:
- Scorpions: Easily recognizable by the barb at the end of their curled tail, these arachnids can deliver a painful sting. Keep your distance!
- Pillbugs: Also known as roly-polies, woodlice or isopods, these creatures commonly roll into a ball when disturbed.
- Millipedes: Featuring an absurd amount of legs, these creatures generally have cylindrical bodies and over 30 pairs of legs depending on the species.
- Centipedes: Similar to millipedes in their leg volume, centipedes feature only one pair of legs per body segment, where millipedes have two. Centipedes also have flattened bodies and typically move faster than millipedes.
- Spiders: With an immense range of different species, you can encounter any number of various spiders beneath rocks and logs.
- Slugs: Well known for their slimy bodies and the trails they leave in their wake, you can often spot these sticky creatures in the damp earth beneath rocks.
- Snails: Similar to slugs in their slimy bodies, but bearing a shell.
About the Author
Marina Somma is a freelance writer and animal trainer. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology & Policy from Monmouth University. Marina has worked with a number of publications involving animal science, behavior and training, including animals.net, SmallDogsAcademy and more.
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