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Extraordinary photos reveal mystery of kingdom of strange underground creatures

Extraordinary photos reveal mystery of kingdom of strange underground creatures Incredible creature living nearby (photo:

Have you ever wondered that the surrounding world literally hides dozens of unique creatures from us? Practically invisible to the human eye, soil organisms can be seen in photos taken with macro photography.

RBC-Ukraine tells about what happens with the soils of the Earth and shows their mysterious inhabitants, invisible to the naked eye.

Sources used in preparing the material: CNN Travel, PNAS, The Chaos of Delight, The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, Instagram.

The world of soil creatures

According to a recent study published in the leading American scientific journal PNAS, more than half of all species on Earth live in the soil.

A 56-year-old photographer from the UK, Andy Murray, specializes in observing microscopic soil creatures. He takes his unique photos using macro photography and a digital camera.

Murray estimates he has discovered around 30 new species through his photography.

Such work is incredibly fascinating (photo: Andy Murray)

In addition, the man works as a freelance editor, musician, and chef.

According to him, the world of tiny soil creatures is as fascinating as the world of large animals familiar to each of us.

"They live in this tiny world... It works like our world, just on a very small scale... If you watch it long enough, you can see the same thing: hunters and prey, animals grazing... You'll see strange and funny interactions," says Murray.

Sminthurides species

These creatures are just incredible (photo: The Chaos of Delight)

He emphasizes that despite the abundance of life, the creatures living in the soil under our feet are relatively unknown. Therefore, the photographer seeks to uncover the secrets of the soil kingdom through his work. To tell people about them and protect them from destruction.

During his work, the man estimates that he has discovered about 30 new species of creatures. His photos are used in scientific reports and other research works.

In addition, the artist has created the website The Chaos of Delight, where he publishes the results of his work.

Allacma fusca

Without macro photography, it's almost impossible to see such a creature (photo: The Chaos of Delight)

Unique photos of tiny creatures

According to the photographer, the world of creatures that live in the soil is incredibly diverse. Here you can see funny, quirky, and even scary faces.

Someone may even resemble large animals well known to every child, not to mention adults.

Novokatianna species juvenile with eversible tube, Thames, NZ March 2016

Dicyrtomina minuta, overturned, showing the furca. Each end of the forked ‘spring’ tail has a paddle-like mucro that connects to the surface when jumping.

Adelphoderia species, Westbury, Tasmania, Australia September 2014

Sminthurides malmgreni, Compton Dundon, Somerset UK, February 2020

Nematode Somerset

"Ні, це не коали". Надзвичайні фото розкривають таємницю царства дивних ґрунтових істот

Nictation in juvenile nematodes, questing for a host. Somerset, UK

Nematode from grassland, East Portlemouth, South Devon, UK Aug 2016.

"Ні, це не коали". Надзвичайні фото розкривають таємницю царства дивних ґрунтових істот

Argonemertes sp cf. A. australiensis. East Portlemouth S. Devon Oct 2016


Argonemertes sp. (2) Slapton marsh, S Devon Sept 2016

Argonemertes australiensis egg case with immature A. australiensis in the foreground, Tasmania May 2016

Mesocypris species with a juvenile Novokatianna species of Collembola, Punakaiki, NZ April 2016

Genus Austropurcellia, family Pettalidae, from under a log, Kuranda, N. Queensland, Australia

Under a log, Franz Josef, New Zealand March 2016

Juvenile Cyphophthalmi species from Punakaiki, New Zealand

"Ні, це не коали". Надзвичайні фото розкривають таємницю царства дивних ґрунтових істот

Forcipomyia larva, Mexico

Cyphophthalmus duricorius from Golovec (Park), Ljubljana, Slovenia, April 2017

Forcipomyia larva, Mexico

2016-03-25-20.36.08 ZS retouched (1).jpeg

Kontikia andersoni under stone, East Portlemouth, Devon UK Sept 2016

Regenerating bush, Tairua, New Zealand Feb 2016

Micro snail, Koper, Slovenia April 2017

Micro snail from the wet tropics, Northern Queensland, Australia

Micro snail, Koper, Slovenia April 2017

Merdigera obscura micro snail, East Prawle, S Devon UK Sept 2016

Acanthinula aculeata, micro snail, UK

Bourletiella arvalis

Katianna species, Tasmania


Temeritas species

Temeritas species

Novokatianna species, New Zealand

Novokatianna species

Pseudachorutes species


Lepidocyrtus species

Holacanthella paucispinosa

Holacanthella paucispinosa

Acanthanura species, Tasmania

Wolmersleymeria bicornis

Megalanura tasmaniae

poss. Lepidosira species

Unknown species

Neelides species

Pygmarrhopolites pygmaeus

Dicyrtomina novaezealandiae


Sminthurides aquaticus

Lepidocyrtus paradoxus



Acanthomurus species

All these creatures live next to us but remain invisible (photo: The Chaos of Delight)

Threat of extinction

Currently, there is a danger that some of the soil creatures may disappear from the face of the Earth before humanity learns about them. Against the backdrop of intensive land use in agriculture and extensive deforestation, almost a third of the Earth's soils have undergone erosion.

Cradle Mountain, Tasmania and billions of springtails.

Everyone should protect nature (photo: The Chaos of Delight)

According to the forecasts of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, by 2050, this indicator could reach a staggering 90%.

According to the ecologist from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and, Landscape Research, Mark Anthony, the destruction of soil microorganisms will lead to a wave effect, as tiny creatures play a huge role in the formation of the 'quality' of the planet's soil and the life of larger creatures that feed on them.

Pseudachorutes species

Every creature on Earth is important (photo: The Chaos of Delight)

Scientists note that soil is home to about 59% of Earth's living species - from microbes to mammals.

That's why Murray's work is extremely important - it helps illustrate the immense biodiversity of the soil and introduces people to tiny neighbors.