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Springtail - Tomocerus vulgaris

Springtail - Tomocerus vulgaris
Swanton, Orleans County, Vermont, USA
May 17, 2006
Size: 3.4mm
A large shiny springtail, but what's that sticking out the rear end?

Thanks Frans
It was one of the larger springtails, at 3.4mm. Does that help in determining if it's T. vulgaris, like you are leaning towards?

Given the purpleish scales...
are not due to artificial illumination side-effects, I would stick to T. vulgaris. Adult T. vulgaris is between 4 to 6 mm. Given a size of 3.4 it could be a pre-adult instar.

Tomocerus vulgaris
Hi Tom. Although the specimen is quite damaged, the dental spines array is visible: from left to right: SsSsSS (S=large spine, s=set of small spines). This pattern matches for both T.minor and T.vulgaris.
The scales cover is severily damaged revealing the uniform orangeyellow body colour.
The dark purplish black scales on the abdomen suggest that it is T. vulgaris. In case the purple colouration is caused by your illumination, and the scales really give a more blue colour it could be T.minor.
Do you recall the size of this specimen?

That is the "furcula," the appendage they use to jump with, and that gives the insect its common name. It is normally retracted beneath the insect, though.

Thanks for the explanation Eric
So that's what a furcula looks like.

Furca is damaged
Hi Tom. Pls, note that this furca is quite damaged. The two arms, dentes, are not equally long. The furca should be symmetric in an undamaged form. Note that this specimen is a Tomocerus, family Tomoceridae.

Tomocerus sp.
Frans, thanks for the ID and the explanation about the furca.

Dental spines
Hi Tom. Allow me to give you some additional credit for this sharp image. At the base of the long arm, dens, of the furca, you can see on the inner side of the dens, some darkbrown array of spots. These are the socalled dental spines. The dental spine array pattern is used to identify the specimens to species level.

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