• Laboratoire des sols
  • Université de lorraine

Springtails arthropleones 


 it is true that springtails are very small organisms and therefore often difficult to see with the naked eye, but you will certainly happen to see them jumping while lifting leaves, in your compost or in a pot


Classification (systematic position)
Source : INPN


Animal Kingdom
Embranchement (Phylum) : Arthropoda
Subphylum: Pancrustacea
Class: Hexapod
Subclass: Entognatha
Order: Collembola



Morphological characteristics
Wingless organisms (apterous) with a 3-part body comprising several segments (head, thorax: 3 segments, abdomen: up to 6 segments depending on the species), elongated body in collembola arthropleones, covered with bristles and sometimes scales, 3 pairs of legs, 1 pair of fairly long segmented antennae in large species such as Orchesella cincta; most species have a folded abdominal organ called furca (the furca may be reduced or absent depending on the type of soil and the depth at which the species lives), presence of a ventral organ (collophore) under the first abdominal segment allowing to hydrate, to regulate gas exchange and to stick to supports.


Life cycle
Springtails are generally short-lived due to heavy predation and can reproduce very quickly. Some species are parthenogenetic (the female reproduces alone). They are among the few arthropods that undergo molts throughout their lives.


Springtails feed mainly on fungi (fungivores), algae and bacteria growing on decomposing plants (saprophages).


Natural predators or regulators
They are the food of many arthropods such as mites, beetles, or even ants. They have an essential role in the food chain.


Springtails live mainly in soil litter but this very diverse group can occupy many environments: deep in the ground, rocks, trees, beaches, caves, wetlands or even on water.


Interests in the garden
Springtails play an essential role in soil fertility because they participate in the creation of microporosity (aeration and rooting), in the degradation of organic matter and therefore in the circulation of nutrients in the soil, in the dissemination and regulation of bacteria and fungi.


Did you know ?
Springtails are important bioindicators of soil quality because their number depends on many factors such as pollution, water availability and the amount of organic matter in the soil.

They are organisms capable of jumping to escape a predator thanks to a saltatory organ (jumping organ named furca).

Last change : 03/04/22
collembole arthropleone photo 700 520
Figure 1
collembole arthropleone photo 700 520 2
Figure 2