Diplurans are small, usually less than 5 mm long, elongate, often colourless, and they live in wet conditions, generally in the soil. The name Diplura means 'double tail', and refers to the prominent paired cerci on the tail. The cerci are sensory structures which, in one family, the Japygidae, also act as pincers.

Diplura are eyeless and lack the tentorium (the internal chitinous skeleton of an insect's head). Diplurans, not unexpectedly, have a rather poor fossil record, with a possible representative reported from the Carboniferous.


 Short cerci, used as pincers



 Long cerci, sensory function only



With around 800 described species worldwide, Diplura are rare compared to their relatives, the insects.

Major Subgroups

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