Pest Guide - Springtails
- About 700 species of springtails
- they are wingless and have limited vision.
Springtails are only about 1 to 2 mm long but can rapidly move 3 to 4 inches in a single motion. This represents a distance of about 100 times their body length. Springtails move rapidly because of a "springing" device on their abdomen called a furcula. The furcula is a hinged appendage that is bent forward and is held in place by a latch mechanism called a tenaculum. When the furcula is released, it springs down, sending the springtail through the air.
Another interesting anatomical feature of springtails is a ventral tube called a collophore, which projects down under the first abdominal segment. The collophore is wet and sticky, and helps a springtail adhere to surfaces. It is also used for water uptake. Springtails are able to breathe through their thin body covering. Water is also able to pass through this covering. Because of the ease with which moisture can escape their bodies, springtails are extremely sensitive to drying out, and many species inhabit soil.