- wingless, primitive, insects
Collembola are small insects, and adults seldom exceed 6 mm in length. Most species live under stones or logs and in moist soil or leaf litter. They feed as scavengers on algae and decaying matter. They are very colourful, (cream, brown, tan, red, blue, purple, yellow) soft bodied, and are abundant throughout the world. These insects do not have wings, but they escape being captured by predators such as spiders and ground beetles because of a unique forklike structure on the underside of their body called a furcula. The insect folds the furcula underneath and fits it into a catch called the tenaculum. As the furcula is released, it springs or catapults the insect into the air. Hence, the common name of springtail. In northwestern Ontario the winter springtail, (snow flea, Hypogastrura nivicola), often appears in the hundreds of thousands/square meter on the snow surface, grazing on spores and algae, during warmer sunny days of January and February.
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