The dark-bodied Water Springtail can tread on the surface of water thanks to its small size and a specialized appendage.
This microscopic hexapod is tiny enough to require a microscope in order to see it in detail. Water Springtails have a furcula. This is a spine-like tail that snaps down, propelling them up into the air. It offers a fast means of transport and evasion from threats. A tube-like collophore helps keep the springtail steady on take off. It may also help keep the springtail in place by sticking onto the surface beneath it. Males drop vertical sperm packets on the ground and push females up against them so they pick them up and use them to fertilize eggs. A swarm of hundreds is visible to the naked eye thanks only to their large numbers. Clusters of Water Springtails form on the water surface of creeks, ponds, lakes, and other slow-moving water sources. They may look like a dark mat of algae at first glance. They are also capable of spending time on land.
Springtails are scavengers, eating the decaying plant and animal matter that insects pass over. They are important to an ecosystem since they help return that decaying matter into chemical energy that can be passed through the food web once they are eaten by their own predators.
Scientific Name: Podura aquatica
Other Name(s): Springtail
Size (Adult; Length): 1mm to 2mm (0.04in to 0.08in)
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