- Tiny, wingless, the underneath of the abdomen with a projecting ventral tube at the base and towards the hind end a forked process used for jumping (in most species).
- Many are short cylindrical in shape, but one group has an almost globular abdomen.
- Incomplete life cycle: egg, larva and adult.
- Some recent studies of Collembola suggest that they may be more closely related to crabs and shrimps (Crustacea) than to insects.
How & where they live
- They are part of the soil fauna, feeding on bacteria and decaying plant material. When disturbed they spring into the air in an uncontrolled manner, as an escape mechanism from predators.
- They can occur in huge numbers in leaf-litter, soil and among other decaying vegetation. A few live on the surface of freshwater and others live on the inter-tidal seashore.
Number of species
- In Britain about 300 species (plus another 11 species only in hot houses and similar artificial situations).
- Worldwide about 2000 species.
It's amazing Most jumping insects (or hexapods) use their hind legs for jumping (as in a flea or grasshopper). Collembola have come-up with a fantastic design, by turning a hind process under the abdomen which can be used to flick the animal into the air as an escape mechanism. That’s fine for a tiny body that will not harm itself when crash landing; without wings there is no control in mid-air.
It's amazing In soil and leaf litter they often occur in densities of at least 40,000 m2.