This week at UUCSR, Karen Uresk from Seatuck Environmental Association gave our interns an in field study of the varied life under the decaying logs and leaves in our woods and the important role fallen trees play in the life cycle. Beneath the logs we found daddy-long legs, ants, slugs, earthworms, centipedes, beetles and sow bugs. These are all decomposers that digest fallen trees and turn them into compost to enrich the soil.

Interesting fact: whether you call them sow bugs, roly-polies, pill bugs or potato bugs, they actually aren’t bugs at all, but crustaceans! Yep, they are more closely related to lobsters and shrimp than insects.

Further along the trail we found Turkey Tail mushrooms growing on fallen logs. These decompose the rotting wood and become a food source for squirrels, turtles, slugs, and beetles. The web of life is truly amazing!

AnneMarie Ansel