Meet the Springtail

Orchesella cincta (Photo by Mvuijlst - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Orchesella cincta (Photo by Mvuijlst – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

Springtails are all around us.

Springtails (Collembola) are hexapods but not insects, being members of the insects’ sister class Entognatha (which also includes proturans and diplurans). They are tiny (<6mm), and numerous, occurring at densities up to around 100,000 per square meter of topsoil. They are important components of forest floor ecosystems, and some species can also be found floating on the surface of stagnant water.

Their name comes from the tail-like furcula folded beneath their body which is used for jumping (see video below).

Here is another video from Preston Guerra of some springtails:

Springtails Timelapse @ Castlewood State Park from Preston Guerra on Vimeo.

“Meet the…” is a collaboration between The Finch & Pea and Nature Afield to bring Nature’s amazing creatures into your home.

Author: Heidi Kay Smith

Biology PhD student on the cusp of finishing and moving on to a postdoc in the behavioral ecology of amphibians. I blog to share my thoughts, ideas, and general feelings of awe of the natural world.

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