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[Plant-biology] Please help me with my UFFO's

McPop via plantbio%40net.bio.net (by popco from toast.net)
Thu Nov 29 14:01:11 EST 2007

Please help me with my UFFO's
Unidentified Fungal and Fauna Objects

I was digging in the litter on a wooded (Oak, Madrone, Pine, Doug-fir)
hillside in southern Oregon and came across a puzzling item.

It is a 3cm tan spherical organic aggregate make up of plant fragments
(80%) enclosed in a fine grain tan matrix. I saturated it with water
to get the fauna moving around.

It is densely packed with .5mm black teardrop-shaped structures
(UFFungal?O) imbedded 1/3 to 2/3 into the surface. They disintegrate
easily into a liquid with probing. With care, it is possible to detach
one from the surface and turn it over. The base has a round opening
with  "roots" oriented towards the center.

Among the living organisms found throughout are a few widely spaced
white fungal filaments throughout and an occasional group of very fine
black filaments attached to the surface in a net pattern. Also found
on the surface are small groups of projecting fine white dendritic
fungal filaments. An occasional springtail makes an appearance.

The next two UFFaunaO's are both transparent. 

The smallest, 2-3mm, is worm-like and tapered at both ends with no
visible features seen with a low power (40X) binocular microscope.
It's contents are a slightly murky, yellow to tan towards the
posterior and a couple of white masses in the center of the body.
Strong highlights show a hint of segmentation. 

The largest, 5mm x .5mm, has two thin black structures in the anterior
portion. The forward one is a V shape; the back one is a square U
shape which slightly  overlaps the V shape. The apexes point to the
front. Two white gut-like pieces run down the back ending in two short
(.1mm) projections on the posterior top. A number of  irregular shaped
masses in  the body cavity are white with two yellow ones.

With a strong side light, 6 or 7 segments become visible as well as
very tiny, barely discernable paired feet. Removing the water causes
the creature to attach itself very firmly by the mouth and wave its
body around vertically.

Both easily glide through the nooks and crannies in a worm-like

Also found were numerous opaque, white, 10-segmented, eyed, grub-like
creature with paired feet. The head has a amber "skullcap" and the
tail has two amber projections on top.

I am guessing the aggregate was made by a beetle. Correct?
What are the teardrop structures?
What are the transparent worms?
What are the grubs?

I have a number of books on invertebrates, zoology, soil ecology,
etc., but none of them show this group of organisms. Can you recommend
a book on soil/litter fauna?

Thanks, Mac

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