Collembola

Commonly known as the springtails, the Collembola are very small hexapods, only a few mm long, with hairs or scales covering their body. The antennae have four segments, muscles in the first three, and the eyes are sometimes absent. The abdomen only has six segments, with a jumping organ (furcula) on the fourth segment.

Collembola are litter or soil dwellers, feeding on fungi. Different types of Collembola can be found in different layers. In shallow soil, collembolans such as Entomobrya have elongated bodies with hair or scales. This provides them with tollerance to dry conditions. In deeper layers, collembolans are more grub-like in appearance, and are even eyeless. The globular Sminthurididae may be found in grassy habitats, and are active movers.

 

 Elongate

Entomobrya

Live in shallow soil

 

 Globular

Sminthurididae

Grassy habitats

 

 Grub-like

Live in deeper soil

 

With around 7500 described species world wide, Collembola are some of the most abundant animals in the biomass.


Major Subgroups

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