springtails

(Hypogastrura spp.)

Overview
springtail (Hypogastrura sp.)
Photo by Luciearl
 

Hypogastrura is a genus of springtails. They are sometimes called snow fleas, but this common name is properly applied to just one species, Hypogastrura nivicola. There are at least 159 Hypogastrura species worldwide, at least 89 species in North America including Greenland and northern Mexico, and at least 1 species in Minnesota. They occur in North America, Central America, New Zealand, and Western Australia. They are found in moist areas rich in organic matter. They often appear in in very large numbers.

Hypogastrura have no breathing organs but breathe through pores on the surface of their body. This makes them highly sensitive to desiccation and to environmental pollution.

 
           
 
Description
 
 

Hypogastrura springtail has a plump, elongated oval body with three visible thoracic segments and six visible abdominal segments. It is bluish-black but appears black when viewed against a light background. There are just a few stiff, hair-like processes (setae) on each segment. The anal spines are small. There are two eye patches, each with eight simple eyes (ocelli). The jumping appendage (furca) is short. The legs and antennae are short.

Identifying a springtail to the genus Hypogastrura is relatively simple, but identifying one to the species is extremely difficult. It requires microscopic examination of the hairs on the last leg segment.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 29, 30, 82.

 
  6/3/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Entognatha  
  Subclass Collembola (springtails)  
 

Order

Poduromorpha (plump springtails)  
 

Family

Hypogastruridae  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

black pasture springtail (Hypogastrura rossi)

humped springtail (Hypogastrura gibbosus)

mushroom springtail (Hypogastrura manubrialis)

snow flea (Hypogastrura nivicola)

Wyandotte Cave springtail (Hypogastrura lucifuga)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

No common name. The common name for the subclass Collembola is springtails, and it is used here for convenience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Furca, Furcula

In Collembola, a forked, tail-like appendage, attached to the fourth abdominal segment, used for jumping. In Orthoptera, a pair of appendages in a more or less forked position overlying the base of the supra-anal plate.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Seta

A stiff, hair-like process on the outer surface of an organism. In Lepidoptera: A usually rigid bristle- or hair-like outgrowth used to sense touch. In mosses: The stalk supporting a spore-bearing capsule and supplying it with nutrients. Plural: setae.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Luciearl

 
 

These … were attracted/feeding on a tree fungus or mushroom. Although there were 3 large of the same mushroom, they only covered the one.

 
    springtail (Hypogastrura sp.)   springtail (Hypogastrura sp.)  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           

 

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Other Videos
 
  Snow Flea suspended on water - Hypogastrura
Lane Baguss
 
   
 
About

Apr 24, 2016

Snow fleas suspended in the water of a puddle. (Jay Cooke Stake Park, MN)

 
  Springtails "snow fleas" (Hypogastrura sp.) in winter snow
ghgames
 
   
 
About

Feb 2, 2020

Observed in large patches in the Cooking Lake Provincial Park (Alberta, Canada) on February 1st 2020. Mostly in locations where poplar trees where loosing small particles from leaves and bark. Outer temperature was 3-4 degrees Celsius.

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

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  Luciearl
5/11/2022

Location: Fairview Twp, Cass County

These … were attracted/feeding on a tree fungus or mushroom. Although there were 3 large of the same mushroom, they only covered the one.

springtail (Hypogastrura sp.)  
           
 
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Created: 6/5/2022

Last Updated:

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