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Insects and other arthropods

Springtails

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Description

These tiny wingless arthropods are normally less than 3 mm long and have a specialized forked appendage, the furca or furcula, located beneath the abdomen. This is what enables them to spring into the air. It is either reduced or absent in several species. Another characteristic organ is the ventral tube, which serves to suck up liquids, adhere to smooth surfaces and breathe.

Springtails are divided into two groups according to their body shape, which is either elongated and segmented or globular and non-segmented. They come in a variety of colours.

Life cycle

Their life cycle is generally short and springtails reproduce quickly, some even three weeks after hatching. They are among the rare arthropods that go moult throughout their lifetimes, even as adults.

Mating behaviour varies widely. In general, however, the male produces a spermatophore (packet of spermatozoa) that the female inserts into her genital opening.

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