Water Springtail (Podura aquatica)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Water Springtail.
Updated: 2/10/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Common Name: Water Springtail
Other Name(s): Springtail
Scientific Name: Podura aquatica
Size (Adult; Length): 1mm to 2mm (0.04in to 0.08in)
Identifying Colors: blue, red, brown
Additional Identifiers: jumping
The dark-bodied Water Springtail can tread on the surface of water thanks to its small size and a collophore.
This microscopic hexapod is tiny enough to require a microscope in order to see it in detail. A swarm of hundreds of them is visible to the naked eye thanks to their large numbers. Clusters of Water Springtails will form on the water surface of creeks, ponds, lakes and other slow-moving water sources. It 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 to energy that can be passed through the food web once they are eaten by their own predators.
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.
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.