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Red Springtails

Red Springtails
Ashford (West of Mt. Rainier National Park), Washington, USA
June 22, 2009
Size: 1mm
I found these red springtails on the bark of a tree at a campground in Ashford, WA. There were thousands of them, they made the bark look red at a distance. It had rained that morning, so the bark was damp; the next day was sunny, I looked again and saw just a few. I used a 105mm macro lens to photograph them, the detail is not as sharp as I would like. I have searched my Kaufman Insect Guide, Bugguide and other sites on the internet with no luck in identifying these creatures. Gosh, there are a lot of different kinds of springtails! I'd like to ID them on my website as more than "just springtails", any help would be appreciated!


Not Entomobryomorpha but Poduromorpha.
Family most probably Neanuridae, given the distinct red colour and if and when they did not jump away, but crawled away, when disturbed: subfamily Neanurinae.

To distinguish Entomobryomorpha from Poduromorpha:
Poduromorpha typically have short legs and antennae while Entomobryomorpha typically have long legs and antennae. Although there are ofcourse exceptions: Entomobryomorpha adapted to live in the soil also have short legs and antennae. To be sure, check the presence or absence of the 1st thoracic segment in dorsal view. This is sometimes hard to see and will require some practise. In Poduromorpha the segment is present. In Entomobryomorpha it is absent. In other words, in dorsal view, Poduromorpha count 3 thoracic segments, while Entomobryomorpha count only 2 thoracic segments, in dorsal aspect. Ofcourse both have 3 thoracic segments, given they have 3 pairs of legs, but in Entomobryomorpha the dorsal tergite of the 1st thoracic segment is reduced completely.

Springtails need a high air humidity to survive. So you will often find them actively crawling about on the surface after rain or during the night, during thaw, etc... They will hide soon under bark or in the litter layer when the air becomes to dry.

Thank you for your input!
Dr. Janssens,
I came across your website on Springtails when I was trying to ID these, I couldn't find any photos that looked similar to these in color. I was amazed at how many different colors these creatures come in! If you don't mind, I will quote your description on my website, you can word it a lot better than I can. I now understand why Beatriz said a better photo was needed to identify them, it is hard to see the segments on them. Considering it was overcast and I didn't have a tripod, this photo was the best one I had. I guess I should have used my flash, but that would have probably sent them scurrying! I'll definitely have to use my hand lens the next time I come across springtails!
Thanks for your help.

Pls, call me Frans
I visited your impressive website and I would appreciate receiving your permission to use your Collembola pictures as illustrations at
Credits and copyrights will be provided for each picture used.

If you put your Collembola pictures in a separate gallery I will make a direct link to it from within our Image Gallery webpage.

I checked the Collembola pictures currently available at your gallery:
1. = Neanurinae, note the bumps on the body, typical for many neanurids
2. and 3. = an aggregation of globular springtails, order = Symphypleona. It are not nymphs but adult springtails of a type in which the body is globular. Family possibly Bourletiellidae or Katiannidae. The 2 large elongate Collembola belong to the family Isotomidae (order = Entomobryomorpha).

Frans, thanks for your help!
You certainly have my permission to use the Collembola photos from my website. It would be an honor! :) If I get more than the 3 photos of Springtails that I have now, perhaps one day I can split them off to their own gallery. I made the changes that you gave me of the names on those pages. I appreciate your help in ID'ing these little creatures, my insect books just aren't detailed enough to find everything.

Thanks for your kind permission, Kris
Looking forward to see more of your Collembola pictures :-)

Moved from ID Request.

Close up?
Sorry I can't help. I would love to see something like this. Do you have a close up? Or at least you could crop this one. Remember that only you and the editors can see the full size image. Everybody else misses the details.
You can narrow it down to Elongate-bodied Springtails or Entomobryomorpha. It isn't much but it would sound pretty impressive on your website : )

Red Springtails
Thanks for your help, Beatriz! I really wish I could have taken a better photo, but I pushed my lens to the max on this one. I don't think cropping would help much. These critters were VERY small. What really amazed me was the huge number of them that were on the tree! The bark had a reddish hue to it from a distance. I was puzzled that I saw only a very few at the same time the next day. I wondered if they hid under the bark or if they went into the leaf litter on the ground because the tree was dry.

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