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*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Class Collembola: the springtails and snowfleas — Examples

Springtail (Order Collembola)
Springtail, class Collembola.
□ Springtails are little invertebrates that have a little spring mechanism on their underside, and when it lets loose, they spring into the air. It happens so fast, that they almost look like they disappear rather than spring away.
Photographed and identified by: Matt G. Location: southeast rural Colorado, USA. Date: mid-May, 2016. Says Matt, “This tiny guy (about 0.75mm) landed on an avocado we we eating indoors.” Matt took this photo with a cellphone “through a specimen scope at 4x with 10mm objective.”
Springtail furcula (Order Collembola)
Springtail, class Collembola.
□ The spring mechanism is called a furcula. The furcula is held against the body’s ventral (belly) side with a latch. When the latch releases, the furculum snaps against the ground and sends the springtail into the air. This photo shows the furculum after it has sprung.
Photographed and identified by: Matt G. Location: southeast rural Colorado, USA. Date: mid-May, 2016. Matt says, “You can just make out its furculum.”
Globular Springtail (family Sminthuridae)
Globular Springtail, family Sminthuridae, order Symphypleona (globular springtails), class Collembola (springtails and snowfleas).
□ A typical Globular Springtail is a tiny organism with a plump, round (or roundish) body and a little head. A careful look at this photo reveals the small head with two, large, dark eyes as well as two antennae extending to the lower left.
Photographed by Hussein Hesham. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Helwan (part of Greater Cairo), Egypt. Date: 14 April, 2018. Hussein says he didn’t notice these jumping, “just moving around the bathroom floor.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “They don’t always jump, but they can, and if you watch long enough, you’ll probably see them leap.”
Collembola (Order Collembola)
Springtail, order Entomobryomorpha (elongate-bodied springtails), class Collembola (springtails and snowfleas).
□ An excellent photo of a small insect!
Photographed by Jill E. Hadfield. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Stockport, England, UK. Date: 13 July, 2017. Jill says, “They’re hard, move quite quickly, seem a bit jerky/jumpy, can float/move in water not drown.”
Collembola (Order Collembola)
Springtail, order Entomobryomorpha (elongate-bodied springtails), class Collembola (springtails and snowfleas).
Photographed by Jill E. Hadfield. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Stockport, England, UK. Date: 13 July, 2017. Jill saw several with the largest one at about 1/4 inch (about 6 mm) long.
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Springtail
Springtails, order Entomobryomorpha (elongate-bodied springtails), class Collembola (springtails and snowfleas).
□ Springtails do spring, jumping out of sight almost like magic. See the photographer’s comment below.
Photographed and identified by: Constance Arnold. Location: Roscoe, Illinois, USA. Date: 21 July, 2018. Constance says, “ Ugh! They are relentless! … And they’re fast!”
Springtail
Springtail, order Entomobryomorpha (elongate-bodied springtails), class Collembola (springtails and snowfleas).
□ Soil entomologist Lee Townsend of the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology, notes that this photo does not show the identifying features for this order — springtails have a forked springing organ called the furculum, and a tube-like structure called the collophore, but both are on the underside of springtails.
Photographed by: Candy Thomas, Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Identified by: Soil entomologist Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky Department of Entomology. Location: Champaign, Illinois, USA. Date: 21 July, 2018. Candy found this springtail in a soybean field. She took the photo at 10-20x magnification and estimates that this “little guy” was about 4mm (about 0.16 inches) long.
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Collembola (Order Collembola)
Springtail, order Entomobryomorpha (elongate-bodied springtails), class Collembola (springtails and snowfleas).
□ They are tiny, so it is difficult to get a good close-up!
Photographed and identified by: Eric Smith. Location: Hoover, Alabama, USA. Date: 15 May, 2017. Eric says, “For months I’ve had these tiny tiny insects around my house. I first noticed them on the brick on the shady side of our house. Then around the doors. Tonight I found some inside on the kitchen window sill.”
Collembola (Order Collembola)
Springtails, order Entomobryomorpha (elongate-bodied springtails), class Collembola (springtails and snowfleas).
□ Springtails like dampness and feed on mold and mildew spores. They can get quite plentiful, but they’re harmless little critters that usually disappear when things dry out (no more spores, so they move on).
Photographed and identified by: Eric Smith. Location: Hoover, Alabama, USA. Date: 15 May, 2017.
Collembola (Order Collembola)
Springtail, order Entomobryomorpha (elongate-bodied springtails), class Collembola (springtails and snowfleas).
□ The photographer saw several of these, and described them this way: “About 1mm long; seen in groups generally after sundown; might be moving around my lamp; also kind of jumps when I put my finger close to it.”
Photographed by: Anonymous. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Istanbul, Turkey. Date: 4 April, 2017.
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Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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