Glacial animals on a Patagonian glacier

Stoneflies are well known to live on Patagonian glacier. If you trek on the blue ice on a glacier, you can easily find that stone flies are walking on the ice surface. Also, if you try to see the ice surface or cryoconite holes carefully, you can see many of snow flea jumping on the ice surface. Following animals are collected on Tyndall Glacier, Chile. See also Snow algae on a Patagonian glacier.

Just try to look at blue-holes, cryoconite holes, or ice surface. They are !

A stone fly

A stonefly in a melt pool

Snow flea on the water surface of meltwater pool. At least 3 species of collembola were observed on this glacier.

A Rotifer can be seen with a microscope.

Small black dots are snow flea

There are large granules in a cryoconite hole. Their size are about 1 - 8 mm. I tried to crush the granules, then found that there are many snow flea inside the granules! They are semi-aquatic collembola. This snow flea may be eaten by the stoneflies, which also often stayed at the bottom of cryoconite holes.


  • Takeuchi, N., and Koshima, S. (2004): A snow algal community on a Patagonian glacier, Tyndall glacier in the Southern Patagonia Icefield. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 36(1), 91-98.
  • Takeuchi, N., Kohshima, S., Shiraiwa, T., and Kubota, K. (2001) Characteristics of cryoconite (surface dust on glaciers) and surface albedo of a Patagonian glacier, Tyndall Glacier, Southern Patagonia Icefield, Bulletin of Glaciological Research, 18, 65-69.
  • Kohshima, S. (1985): Patagonian glaciers as insect habitats. In Nakajima, K (ed.) Glciological studies in Patagonia Northern Iccefield 1982-1984. Data center for Glacier Research, Japanese Society of Snow and Ice, Kyoto. 94-99.

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