Mystery Metazoan

Do any of you know what this little animal might be?  I honestly have no idea, and rather than look it up I thought I'd crowd-source it to you folks first.

It was lurking on the underside of a leaf at the Archbold Biological Station in Florida along the shores of a sinkhole lake.  This was back in June.  It's about a centimeter long.

update: It's a hover fly larva.  Ted MacRae picked it- thanks!

More like this

not sure, idk, but in a way it's beautiful ..still~ i cant look at it to long with out being grossed out ... (laugh out loud )...

I swear , I love your camera these shot are great !!!

Gross. Early-stage lep or dipteran pupa?

By Ainsley S (not verified) on 01 Dec 2009 #permalink

red spotted purple?

By Mrilovetheants (not verified) on 01 Dec 2009 #permalink

Well, I'm certainly no expert, but it rather looks to me like some sort of slug. The flesh looks like it flows down to a mollusk-type "foot" rather than anything resembling legs, and the structure on the back looks similar to the shield structure that the local slugs have in lieu of a shell. The blunt end (to the left) looks like it has two small dots connecting to embedded tubes, these might be retracted eyestalks. Did it leave anything resembling a slime trail?

@nashe: There is no secret. You only have to buy the Canon and the macro lens and start shooting. Some pics of honey bees visiting flowers would be great.

Looks like a maggot to me - aren't those a pair of spiracles at the left end? Syrphidae came immediately to mind - but I know bugger all about them, so take this identification with a ton of salt.

Syrphid larva was the first thing that came to my mind as well, macromite pointed out the posterior spiracles, and the narrowed head also looks right. I have no idea what all that going on in the middle is - but what do I know, I hate flies :)

After digging a little, your photo looks suspiciously similar to the one on this page. Although the ID on that page is not particularly authoritative, the fact that the larvae are showing actually eating aphids is strong evidence that they are syrphid larvae. The page contains a link to a photo on BugGuide that looks even more like this photo.

It looks like a Lycaenidae caterpillar to me. And it appears to be camouflaging into a bird scat? I wonder what those white things inside are, could be an infected caterpillar... I hope you can keep a watch over this mystery creature until it reveals its identity! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks, macromite and Ted. I have some kind of mental block where I always forget what Syrphid larvae look like. Macromite, it was -23 C in Hythe this morning (-9 F for you Yanks). See you at AltaLeps on Dec 5?

Well. I'm sold on the syrphid larva hypothesis, especially after seeing the photos that Ted found.

Thanks everyone!

I recognized this as a syrphid larva right off, though I've never seen one with such a "midriff bulge". Otherwise, it looks much like the ones you see among aphids.

Anyone who is anatomically inclined able to shed light on what the white "egg like" structures are?

By Pete Yeeles (not verified) on 02 Dec 2009 #permalink