What lives under logs?
Use our ID guide to identify invertebrates living unders logs and stones during winter.
Winter can be a bleak time for invertebrates - many are taking refuge under logs and stones, safe from damaging frosts. Turn one over briefly and discover a tiny new world. Illustrations by Felicity Rose Cole
1. (above) Violet ground beetle Carabus violaceus
20–30mm. Large beetle with purple wingcase borders. Feeds on worms and other soft-bodied invertebrates.
2. Woodlouse spider Dysdera crocata
9–15mm long. Found most frequently in southern England. Its huge orange jaws pierce woodlouse armour.
3. Buzzing snail-hunter Cychrus caraboides
15–20mm. Long ‘snout’ probes snail shells. Also eats wide range of soft-bodied prey. Buzzes when handled.
4. Ground beetle Abax parallelepipedus
17–22mm. Black beetle with grooved wingcases. Eats earthworms and other soft-bodied invertebrates.
5. Carrion beetle Silpha atrata
10–15mm. Mat-black beetle with broad wingcases. Feeds on snails and a wide variety of carrion.
6. Devil’s coach-horse Ocypus olens
20–30mm. Black rove beetle with short wingcases. Raises tail when threatened. Eats slugs.
7. Common black millipede Tachypodoiulus niger
Up to 30mm. Coils when disturbed. Body has 30–60 segments. Feeds on decaying matter and fungi.
8. Flat-backed millipede Polydesmus angustus
Up to 25mm. Brownish, winged segments; appears flatter than black millipede. Often found under bark.
9. Common pill woodlouse Armadillidium vulgare
Up to 18mm. Found especially on limy soils. Similar pill millipede has more than seven pairs of legs.
10. Common striped woodlouse Philoscia muscorum
Up to 11mm. Fast-moving. Grey, brown or even orange, often with dark stripe.
11. Garlic snail Oxychilus alliarius
6–8mm. Translucent, shiny, pale-brown shell, dark grey body. Emits strong garlic smell when disturbed
12. Great grey slug Limax maximus
Very large slug, up to 20cm. Body dark grey, with paler blotches and stripes – hence alternative name of leopard slug.