Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes



Class Collembola - Springtails and allies

Globular Springtail - Allacma fusca Entomobryidae - Entomobrya atrocincta Entomobryomorpha - Pogonognathellus Poduromorpha 2 Plot 116 - Protaphorura Entomobryomorpha 6 - Desoria Entomobrya sp? Globular - Sminthurus butcheri Morulodes? - Morulodes setosus - male
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Collembola (Springtails and allies)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Apontoptera Shipley 1904
Formerly treated as part of Entognatha, an assemblage later determined to be polyphyletic
Explanation of Names
Collembola Lubbock 1870
Greek kolla (κόλλα) 'glue' + embolon 'peg, stopper'(1); refers to a peg-shaped structure on the first abdominal segment, the collophore, once thought to be an adhesive organ
>8,200 described spp. worldwide, arranged in >670 genera, 31 families, 15 superfamilies, and 4 orders(2) • TBA spp. in our area(3) • >540 spp. in Canada & AK(4)

Genera represented in our area
Classification adapted from(2). Taxa not yet in the guide are marked (*). The synopsis has been kindly reviewed and corrected by Dr K. Christiansen.
Superfamily NeanuroideaFamily NeanuridaeSubfamily *Frieseinae *FrieseaSubfamily Morulininae Morulina · *PromorulinaSubfamily NeanurinaeTribe Neanurini Deutonura · *Endonura · *Kalanura · NeanuraTribe Morulodini *Christobella · MorulodesTribe Lobellini Lobella · *LobellinaTribe Paleonurini *Bilobella · *Blasconura · *Paleonura · *Paramanura · *Speleonura · VitronuraTribe Paranurini *Oregonanura · ParanuraTribe Sensillanurini Americanura · *Palmanura · SensillanuraSubfamily Pseudachorutinae Anurida · *Anuridella · *Arlesia · *Furculanurida · *Hylaeanura · *Micranurida · *Neotropiella · *Oudemansia · *Philotella · *Pratanurida · *Protachorutes · Pseudachorudina · *Pseudachorutella · Pseudachorutes · *Pseudanurida · *StachorutesFamily Brachystomellidae Brachystomella · *RapoportellaFamily Odontellidae *Axenyllodes · *Odontella · *Stachia · *Stachiomella · Superodontella · *XenyllodesSuperfamily PoduroideaFamily Poduridae PoduraSuperfamily HypogastruroideaFamily Hypogastruridae *Acherontides · *Acherontiella · *Barbagastrura · *Bonetogastrura · Ceratophysella · *Choreutinula · *Cosberella · Hypogastrura · *Mesachorutes · Microgastrura · *Neobeckerella · *Paraxenylla · Schaefferia · Schoettella · *Stenogastrura · *Tafallia · *Triacanthella · *Typhlogastrura · Willemia · XenyllaSuperfamily OnychiuroideaFamily OnychiuridaeSubfamily Lophognathellinae LophognathellaSubfamily OnychiurinaeTribe Hymenaphorurini *Arneria? · *Dinochiurus · Heteraphorura · Hymenaphorura · Kalaphorura · *Paronychiurus · *Psyllaphorura · *Reducturus · *Vexaphorura · *WandaphoruraTribe Oligaphorurini *Chribellphorura · *Dimorphaphorura · *Jacekaphorura · *Megaphorura · *Micraphorura · *Oligaphorura · Protaphorura · *SupraphoruraTribe *Thalassaphorurini *Agraphorura · Allonychiurus · *Tantulonychiurus · *Thalassaphorura · *UralaphoruraTribe Onychiurini *Deuteraphorura · Onychiurus · *Orthonychiurus · *SimilonychiurusFamily Tullbergiidae *Multivesicula · *Pongeiella · *Rotundiphorura · *WeineraSubfamily *Tullbergiinae *Fissuraphorura · *Neonaphorura · *Stenaphorurella · TullbergiaSubfamily *Stenaphorurinae *Karlstejnia · Mesaphorura · *Metaphorura · *Paratullbergia · *WankeliellaSubfamily *Austraphorurinae *Granuliphorura · *ScaphaphoruraFamily *Pachytullbergiidae *Sensiphorura
Superfamily TomoceroideaFamily *Oncopoduridae *Harlomillsia · *OncopoduraFamily Tomoceridae *Lethemurus · Plutomurus · Pogonognathellus · *Tomocerina · Tomocerus · TomolonusSuperfamily IsotomoideaFamily IsotomidaeSubfamily Anurophorinae Anurophorus · *Blissia · Cryptopygus · Dagamaea · Hemisotoma · *Isotomodella · *Isotomodes · *Micranurophorus · *Micrisotoma · Mucrosomia · *Pectenisotoma · *Proisotomodes · *Pseudanurophorus · *Stachanorema · Tetracanthella · *UzeliaSubfamily Isotominae Agrenia · *Axelsonia · Cheirotoma · Desoria · *Gnathisotoma · *Granisotoma · *Halisotoma · *Heteroisotoma · Hydroisotoma · Isotoma · Isotomiella · Isotomurus · *Marisotoma · Metisotoma · *Misturasotoma · *Mucronia · *Myopia · Parisotoma · *Pentacanthella · *Protoisotoma · *Psammisotoma · Pseudisotoma · *Pteronychella · *Semicerura · VertagopusSubfamily *Pachyotominae *Coloburella · *Pachyotoma · *ParanurophorusSubfamily Proisotominae *Appendisotoma · *Archisotoma · Ballistura · *Bonetrura · *Clavisotoma · *Cliforga · Folsomia · Folsomides · *Folsomina · Guthriella · Proisotoma · Scutisotoma · *WeberacanthaSuperfamily EntomobryoideaFamily EntomobryidaeSubfamily Entomobryinae Calx · Coecobrya · Drepanura · Entomobrya · Entomobryoides · *Himalanura · Homidia · Mesentotoma · SinellaSubfamily Lepidocyrtinae Lepidocyrtus · PseudosinellaSubfamily OrchesellinaeTribe Orchesellini *Dicranocentrus · *Dicranorchesella · Orchesella · *PseudodicranocentrusTribe *Corynothrichini *CorynothrixTribe Heteromurini *Heteromurtrella · HeteromurusSubfamily Seirinae *Lepidosira · SeiraSubfamily Willowsiinae Americabrya · *Desertia · WillowsiaFamily ParonellidaeSubfamily Cyphoderinae CyphoderusSubfamily ParonellinaeTribe Cremastocephalini SalinaTribe *Paronellini *CampylothoraxTribe *Troglopedetini *Dicranocentruga · *Trogolaphysa
Typically 1―5 mm(2)
keys to all taxa of our fauna in (3)
Abdomen with 6 or fewer segments. Usually a forked structure (furcula) on abdominal segment 4 or 5, and a small tubular structure (collophore) on abdominal segment 1. Antennae 4―6 segmented(5)
Species with a furcula are jumpers; the furcula is normally folded under the abdomen, and the insect jumps by suddenly extending the furcula ventrally and posteriorly(5)
The black lateral patches on head are eye clusters. Each patch is made of ≤8 single eyes. Many have a reduced number of single eyes in the cluster. Many soil/cave species have no single eyes. Frontal eyes are embedded deep and have no external (domelike) components but are marked by a dark facial spot below/between the antennae.

Springtails in the deeper layers of the litter have less color, poor eyesight and shorter furculae. In the deepest parts, they are eyeless, colorless, and have no furculae.(6)
Soil, leaf litter, under bark, in decaying wood/fungi, on water surface; some on vegetation(5). In our area, at least 11 genera include truly aquatic members, >20 genera are regularly found on water surface.(7) Often found indoors, especially in moist/damp situations with condensation.
biology discussed in detail in (8)
Year-round. Some species known as "snow fleas" occur in numbers on snow surface in the dead of winter.
decaying organic matter (esp. vegetable matter), fungal spores (esp. indoors)
Life Cycle
Males use their prehensile antennae to hold onto female antennae when mating.(9)
All Collembola have a ventral tube from which they can everse two sacs. In Symphypleona, these sacs have evolved into long multifunctional tubes, used [i] to regulate the osmotic pressure by taking up water with the tips of the eversed sacs/tubes, [ii] to adhere to smooth surfaces, and [iii] for grooming. (Frans Janssens) • The scale vestiture helps to reduce dehydration and the grip of predators (the scales are easily detached and restored in the next moult)(Frans Janssens)
In wooded areas springtails reduce litter buildup and help humus formation(10)
Collembola have an elaborated organ at the tip of antennae. This organ can be compared with our taste organ. (Frans Janssens)
Internet References
Works Cited
1.Composition of scientific words
Brown R.W. 1956. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. 882 pp.
2.Bellinger P.F., Christiansen K.A., Janssens F. (1996‒2023) Checklist of the Collembola of the World
3.The Collembola of North America, north of the Rio Grande Parts 1-4
Kenneth Allen Christiansen and Peter F. Bellinger. 1998. Grinnell College.
4.An updated checklist of Canadian and Alaskan Collembola
Babenko A., Stebaeva S., Turnbull M.S. 2019. Zootaxa 4592: 1‒125.
5.A Field Guide to Insects
Richard E. White, Donald J. Borror, Roger Tory Peterson. 1998. Houghton Mifflin Co.
6.Hidden Company that Trees Keep: Life from Treetops to Root Tips
James B. Nardi. 2023. Princeton University Press.
7.Aquatic Insects of North America
R. W. Merritt, K. W. Cummins, M.B. Berg. 2008. Kendall/Hunt.
8.Biology of springtails (Insecta: Collembola)
Hopkin S.P. 1997. Oxford University Press. 330 pp.
9.The Insects : Structure and Function
R. F. Chapman. 1998. Cambridge University Press.
10.Eastern Forest Insects
Whiteford L. Baker. 1972. U.S. Department of Agriculture · Forest Service.
11.Hopkin S. (-2006) Collembola of Britain and Ireland