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Collembola - Ptenothrix atra

Collembola - Ptenothrix atra
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
November 9, 2008
Size: ~1.7mm

Images of this individual: tag all
Collembola - Ptenothrix atra Collembola - Ptenothrix atra


Ptenothrix atra
Family Dicyrtomidae.

Hi Frans, would you mind doing a little education....
...on globular springtails. I have assumed (which I'm quickly learning is a bad thing to do concerning bugs) that the dark areas on the head are the eyes....but there is so much 'area' to the face below these spots. Are they eyes? If not, where are they?

The black patches on the head
are indeed the lateral eye clusters, as you have figured out in the mean time :-)
As Scott pointed out, each eye patch is composed out of max 8 single eyes. In the Collembola bodyplan, the eye cluster has 6 fotosensitive single eyes and 2 single eyes that are sensitive to polarised light.
In many Collembola the number of single eyes in the eye cluster is reduced. In many soil and cave species the single eyes are completely absent.

But Collembola have also frontal eyes. In the large facial space below/between the antennae you will often see a kind of dark spot. This spot marks the location of the frontal eyes. These are embedded deep into the skin and have no external (domelike) components.

Thanks for this great explanation....
...I'm going to paste this into the Info guide page for Collembola. These tiny little creatures are fascinating.

I'm not Frans...
but you can check out his website:
The black patches are the eyes which are composed of from six to eight single eyes within the black area.

Hi Scott...actually I had just been browsing that site
before posting my question. Somehow I totally skipped over the eye info and close-up photo. For such cute little bugs, they sure have creepy looking eyes. I noticed the info says 'two optional' eyes. ??? I sure wish you had been at the BugGuide gathering last August in the Smokies -- I tried to take a photo of a globular springtail and now wonder what it would have looked like through your lens.

I was planning to go...
but had other commitments at that time. Looks like I missed a great time. Maybe I can make it to another gathering someday.

Some of these springtails are so tiny, I need a magnifying glass to see them :^) My current setup will go to about 8x, so I would probably be able to get a good image of the springtail in your pic. If it stays very still!

What great pics of a beautiful animal.

Keep 'em coming. Litter can be productive throughout the year. This will give me something to look forward to as I trudge thru the snow.

these shots are superb

Jeff, Lynette...
Thank you very much. I will be searching for more 'Litter Critters' throughout the winter months. I saw quite a number of different species of Collembola last winter. Now it's time to produce some images.

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