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Creepy-Crawly Springtails

Springtail - Photo  Copyright 2005 Gary Bradley
Photo: G. Bradley

UK Safari Tip:
A great way to see all the details on springtails and other small creatures is with a powerful hand lens - click here

Latin name: Entomobrya nivalis

Size: Length can be 0.5mms up to 6mms, depending on the species

Distribution: Found throughout the UK.

Months seen: All year round

Food: Living and dead vegetation

Habitat: Anywhere where food can be found including compost heaps and leaf litter.

Special features: The name comes from a special forked tail which the insect keeps folded underneath its abdomen. The tail is held in place with a small latch, and when it's released, the tail drops rapidly down to the ground and propels the insect into the air.

There are around 250 different species of springtail. Some are rounded, but most have an elongated body, six legs (insects) and two antennae. They feed on anything from rotting leaves to bacteria.

Track Down More Info

Close up Photo of a Springtail
UK Safari Creepy-Crawlies Section

  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved