BugFinder Insects by State Spiders Butterflies & Moths Bees, Ants, & Wasps Beetles All Bugs Videos (YouTube)

Snow Fleas (Hypogastrura spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Snow Fleas

Loading SVG image placeholder
Image Credit: Mike D. from OR
Full-sized image of the Snow-Fleas Thumbnail image of the Snow-Fleas
Image Credit: Mike D. from OR
Full-sized image #2 of the Snow-Fleas Thumbnail image #2 of the Snow-Fleas

Snow Fleas are neither relegated just to snowy areas, nor are they actually fleas, but they certainly surprise anyone digging a trench or hole.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Snow Fleas are minuscule hexapods, not insects. They sometimes come to the surface of snow pack in winter months. This emergence, and their ability to leap, created the misnomer that is the common name, Snow Flea. They are actually Springtails, not fleas, so they do not bite, and they do not sting. They technically do not jump either. An appendage under their bodies, called a furcula, snaps and propels them recklessly into the air, hopefully allowing them to escape a predator or threat. A more accurate name for this kind of hexapod is Elongate-bodied Springtail.

At first glance, their congregations look like dark, crumbly soil, until the discoverer realizes the mass is moving. They are typically found in large, swarm-like clusters in the soil, and are usually only revealed to human eyes when serious digging is required for plumbing, sewer, or other underground work. They have also been known to take up residence under commercial mushroom farms. While the sheer numbers of the tiny invertebrates may seem alarming, these little creatures are completely harmless. In fact, they help maintain soil health and aeration. They are black hexapods, but may have a bluish tint to them en masse.

Elongate-bodied Springtails feed on decaying plant matter like leaf litter and mulch as well as other organic material in the soil. They can survive cold temperatures underground thanks to biochemical 'antifreeze' in their bodies. In early spring, when snow is beginning to melt, they might make an appearance on the surface, perhaps in a search for food. Otherwise, they are happy to go unnoticed beneath our feet. Assemblies of innocuous Elongate-bodied Springtails are found in every part of North America.©InsectIdentification.org

Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.InsectIdentification.org. It is the product of hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, educators, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at InsectIdentification AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.

General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Jumping insect icon
Rounded insect body icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Collembola
      Order: Poduromorpha
        Family: Hypogastruridae
View More
          Genus: Hypogastrura
View More
            Species: spp.

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Hypogastrura spp.
Other Name(s): Elongated Springtails
Category: Springtail
Size (Adult; Length): 1mm to 2mm (0.03" to 0.07")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; blue; purple
Descriptors: underground; plumbing; sewer; pipes; mushrooms; snow; digging; millions; group; cluster; swarm; small; tiny; bugs; jump; dirt; pepper; bluish

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 1mm (0.0in) and 2mm (0.1in)
Lo: 1mm
Md: 1.5mm
Hi: 2mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Snow Fleas 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 Snow Fleas. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Sitemap
Beetle Identification Butterfly Identification Caterpillar Identification Spider ID Fungal Infections on Insects Nursery Web Spider Official State Insects Termite Basics Insect Molting Process Bugs of Tennessee House Centipede JoroSpider.org

2024 www.InsectIdentification.org • Content ©2006-2024 InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved. The InsectIdentification.org logo, its written content, and watermarked photographs/imagery are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and is protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (regarding bites, etc...).Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. By submitting images to us (InsectIdentification.org) you acknowledge that you have read and understood our Site Disclaimer as it pertains to "User-Submitted Content". Images in JPG format are preferred with a minimum horizontal dimension of 1000px if possible. When emailing please include your location and the general estimated size of the specimen in question if possible. Please direct all inquiries and comments to insectidentification AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

©2024 www.InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2006-2024 (18yrs)