The generation and sensation of mechanical force plays a role in many dynamic biological processes, including touch sensation. This paper presents a two-axis micro strain gauge force sensor constructed from multiple layers of SU-8 and metal on quartz substrates. The sensor was designed to meet requirements for measuring tactile sensitivity and interaction forces exerted during locomotion by small organisms such as the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The device is transparent and compatible with light microscopes, allowing behavioral experiments to be combined with quantitative force measurements. For the first time, we have characterized the scale of interaction forces generated in wild-type C. elegans in probing and responding to their environment during locomotion. The device features sub-µN force resolution from 1 Hz to 1 kHz, >25 µN range, kHz acquisition rates and biocompatibility.