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Collembola ~ Springtails

These are extremely small creatures that are usually only noticed when they form large masses on pond water or greenhouse plants. They can be mistaken for fleas, but do not feed on blood. They used to be classified as insects, but are now considered entognathans.

Different species of springtails present a variety of diets, including decaying plant matter, fungi, bacteria, pollen, algae, and even small invertebrates.

Members of this order are wingless, but they are capable of jumping by using modified abdominal appendages.

Springtails do not have true metamorphosis, as they continue to grow and molt their entire lives. They are often colonial and all stages can be found together.

Size is minute.

A few kinds can be identified to family, but many are so small that they require magnification to make out pertinent details.

These are the Families of Collembola (springtails) likely to be encountered in Austin, Texas:

[slender springtails]

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