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Collembola - springtails

1/1/6 in.


1/32 in.

Collembolans derive their order name from a unique, peg-like structure under their first abdominal segment from which a sticky substance is secreted. A unique, forked structure near the rear of the abdomen (furcula) is brought forward and when released, sufficient force is applied to the ground that the insect is propelled or flipped into the air, thus the name 'springtail').

Collembolans are very small (less than 1/5-inch long), wingless insects with only six abdominal segments. Most have chewing mouthparts. These primitive insects develop without metamorphosis.

Most species live outdoors in the soil or on decaying vegetation and are found under stones, in leaf litter, and in other damp places. Some commonly are found clustered on the sides of trees where sap is oozing; others collect in large numbers on still water.

Occasionally collembolans can enter buildings through tiny openings in windows, doors and foundations cracks to become nuisance pests indoors.