Springtails (Collembola)

Greek "coll" (glue) + "embol" (wedge)
Springtails prefer moist conditions and congregate in large numbers in soil, sand, leaf litter, and on the surface of water, where they eat decaying plants and fungi. They are tiny, no more than 1/4" long and often smaller. They do not have wings. Springtails have a special mechanism for jumping, a fork-shaped organ called a furcula that is held in place by a catch, like a trigger, on the underside of the abdomen. When the catch is released, the springtail flips into the air. Springtails are found everywhere in the world including in Antartica, and are believed to be the most populous hexapod.

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© 2006 Joyce Gross
click for enlargement
© 2005 William Leonard

Quick ID

  • Tiny in size
  • Jumping tail under the abdomen

More information about Springtails

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Last updated: Jan 2, 2017