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Jumping Bristletail (Pedetontus sp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Jumping Bristletail



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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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Image Credit: Kristi B.
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The elusive Jumping Bristletail is not easily found, though in fairness, it is also not usually sought out either.



Updated: 03/16/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Jumping Bristletails are small, jumping insects that have a hunched back like shrimp, but resemble a Silverfish with three 'tails' at the tip of the abdomen: one long, with two shorter ones on either side of it. They do not have wings, but can propel themselves into the air using the abdomen. Their large eyes sit on top of the head and are so close together that they touch. Their scales are slightly reflective so they may appear to be a coppery metallic color under the light.

Jumping Bristletails are found on the ground under rocks, stones, logs, debris, leaves and in caves and prefer moist areas. The Bristletail's diet includes leaf litter, rotting vegetation, and other decaying organic matter. The best places to find food like that is outdoors and on the ground, therefore they are rarely found inside.




Known Diet of the Jumping-Bristletail



decaying plants, algae, lichen and moss


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Jumping insect icon
Shiny insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Microcoryphia
        Family: Machilidae
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          Genus: Pedetontus
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            Species: sp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Pedetontus sp.
Other Name(s): Bristletail
Category: Bristletail
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 15mm (0.39" to 0.59")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: silver, gray
Descriptors: jumping, coppery, metallic
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 10mm and 15mm
Lo: 10mm
Md: 12.5mm
Hi: 15mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Jumping Bristletail may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Jumping Bristletail. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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