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Photo#617163
Orange Springtail - Vitronura giselae

Orange Springtail - Vitronura giselae
Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA
February 22, 2012
Size: ~2mm
I found this V. giselae springtail in my backyard. This one had much less pronounced "bumps" than the others I've found. It also had more mottled color rather than the solid orange I see more often. It almost looked like there was something underneath the skin.

Images of this individual: tag all
Orange Springtail - Vitronura giselae Orange Springtail - Vitronura giselae V. giselae comparison - Vitronura giselae

Vitronura giselae
The difference in 'bumpyness' of the body may be explained as follows. Collembola have a peculiar lifecycle in which instars subsequently are feeding instar then reproductive instar then feeding instar again then reproductive instar again etc... In the reproductive instar phase the body may appear less bumpy but more swollen than in the feeding instar phase, given the swollen reproductive organs. In the reproductive instar phase males will have large gonads and females are full of eggs. In the feeding instar phase the reproductive organs are less developed.

 
Thanks for the great info!
Thanks for the great info! How can you tell if a springtail is male or female? Also, how do they change between feeding and reproductive instars?

 
It is not easy...
to tell if a specimen is male or female. Collembola do not have external reproductive organs. However, the shape of the sexual opening, ventrally on the 5th abdominal segment, is different. In females, the sexual opening is a transverse slit having 2 kind of lips, an anterior and a posterior lip, each with a row of setae. In males, the sexual opening has the shape of a keyhole directed longitudinally and surrounded by several circles of setae. In many Symphypleona the male sexual opening is on a raised papilla which can be seen in 'low level' lateral aspect pictures. Some Collembola display sexual dimorphism but these are exceptions.

Changing from feeding to reproductive instar happens simply by moulting. Contrary to Insecta, Collembola keep on moulting in adult phase. After each moult an adult specimen changes functionally. In feeding instar phase the specimen will only feed. In reproductive instar phase (after moulting) the specimen does not feed but thinks only about having sex ;-). After the next moult it is back in feeding phase where it lost all interest in sex. This cycle goes on untill death. We could say that Collembola regain virginity every 2 moults.

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