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Collembola - Dicyrtomina minuta

Collembola - Dicyrtomina minuta
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
December 25, 2011
Size: ~1.5mm
Genus Dicyrtomina. Unusual behavior observed. What is this little springtail doing? It walks along as if it had one too many drinks of beer and rares up on its hind legs clawing away at the sky. Really funny to watch this tiny critter staggering around as I take pics of it. See other two images.

Images of this individual: tag all
Collembola - Dicyrtomina minuta Collembola - Dicyrtomina minuta Collembola - Dicyrtomina minuta

Moved from Springtails and allies.
Cool! I'll have to keep an eye out for this behavior.

Dicyrtomina minuta forma ornata
The 'waving' behaviour is indeed typical for Dicyrtomina. But most Symphypleona do it, but it is less often noticed ;-)
The waving of the frontlegs is typically the 2nd step in the procedure that a specimen goes through preparing for a jump.
The procedure =
1. tilt head backwards
2. uplift frontlegs
3. eject vesicles of collophore (happens at high speed!); this is a safety measure: consider the sticky vesicles as safetybelts that stick the specimen at the surface when it lands after the jump
4. apply furca to jump
I guess the specimen is worried you approaching it too close with your hugh lens ;-)
At under Dicyrtominae you can find some short videoclips of Dicyrtomina specimens waving their frontlegs.

I should have known because the little springtail only starts to do this when I get close with the lens and the flash diffuser covers the area. Interesting behavior though. Other species of springtails will usually just hit the eject button without all of the fancy dancing.

Thank you for the explanation and ID's!

I'm thinking if I were that small, everything would constitute a tripping hazard. BTW great photo of such a diminutive creature.

Thanks Robert
I need to get one of these little guys on video. Every now and then I will find a springtail of this particular species acting in this manner.

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