Three hundred and seventy-four flips per second or 22,440 rpm: That’s how quickly globular springtails spin when they jump from standing position. How does that compare with a helicopter rotor or racecar engines? Globular springtails are spinning faster. See them in their slow-mo glory and learn more about this small omnivorous hexapod in this video by AntLab‘s Dr. Adrian Smith.
Collembola are one of the most widely spread and numerous of all animals in the world. They live virtually everywhere. Car parks and city streets, in sand, up trees, on water, in houses, on plants. And in and around soil, of course. Wherever you go, looking with a hand-lens, there will most likely be a springtail scampering away from you.
“They’re officially the deepest living land animal, with a new species, Plutomurus ortobalaganensis, found in Krubera-Veronja cave in the Western Caucacus at a depth of 1,980 metres (6,500 feet) below ground. It was tempted out using cheese.”
Desoria species of Collembola happily live on the summit of Mount Everest, while another genus in Tasmania lives for a certain part of its life, underwater, eating crunchy diatoms.
Collembola are one of nature’s ultimate niche fillers, able to find a way into almost any environment in the world, given time. And time is something they’ve had a lot of. In 1919 a fossil collembolan, Rhyniella praecursor was found in the Rhynie chert. The chert dates to around 410 million years old, meaning that collembolans were one of the very first arthropods to become terrestrial.
Click through to Chaos of Delight for some excellent photos.