What lives under logs?

Use our ID guide to identify invertebrates living unders logs and stones during winter. 

violetgroundbeetle_623-39ad16e

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

Advertisement

1. (above) Violet ground beetle Carabus violaceus

20–30mm. Large beetle with purple wingcase borders. Feeds on worms and other soft-bodied invertebrates.

woodlousespider_623-3e4320d

2. Woodlouse spider Dysdera crocata

9–15mm long. Found most frequently in southern England. Its huge orange jaws pierce woodlouse armour.

buzzingsnailhunter_623-1e4ca89

3. Buzzing snail-hunter Cychrus caraboides

15–20mm. Long ‘snout’ probes snail shells. Also eats wide range of soft-bodied prey. Buzzes when handled.

groundbeetle_623-f55ed0b

4. Ground beetle Abax parallelepipedus

17–22mm. Black beetle with grooved wingcases. Eats earthworms and other soft-bodied invertebrates. 

carrionbeetle_623-aaa492d

5. Carrion beetle Silpha atrata

10–15mm. Mat-black beetle with broad wingcases. Feeds on snails and a wide variety of carrion.

devil27scoachhorsebeetle_623-d647e02

6. Devil’s coach-horse Ocypus olens

20–30mm. Black rove beetle with short wingcases. Raises tail when threatened. Eats slugs.

commonblackmillipede_623-0188e35

7. Common black millipede Tachypodoiulus niger

Up to 30mm. Coils when disturbed. Body has 30–60 segments. Feeds on decaying matter and fungi. 

flatbackedmillipede_623-ecb23e9

8. Flat-backed millipede Polydesmus angustus

Up to 25mm. Brownish, winged segments; appears flatter than black millipede. Often found under bark. 

commonpillwoodlouse_623-2c86c2b

9. Common pill woodlouse Armadillidium vulgare

Up to 18mm. Found especially on limy soils. Similar pill millipede has more than seven pairs of legs. 

commonstripedwoodlouse_623-0abbeed

10. Common striped woodlouse Philoscia muscorum

Up to 11mm. Fast-moving. Grey, brown or even orange, often with dark stripe. 

.

garlicsnail_623-39fd465

11. Garlic snail Oxychilus alliarius

6–8mm. Translucent, shiny, pale-brown shell, dark grey body. Emits strong garlic smell when disturbed

greatgreyslug_623-30c6364

12. Great grey slug Limax maximus

Advertisement

Very large slug, up to 20cm. Body dark grey, with paler blotches and stripes – hence alternative name of leopard slug.