Plump Springtail
Plump Springtail
Plump Springtail (Hypogastrura sp)Class: Animals (Animalia) - Jointed Legs (Arthropoda) - Springtails (Collembola)
Order: Plump Springtails (Poduromorpha)
Family: Plump Springtail (Poduromorpha)     iNaturalist Observation
Species: Plump Springtail (Hypogastrura sp)
This Photo:     🔍Thousands🔎

Thank you Thomas Mesaglio for confirming the id of this species for us

General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA) and elsewhere
They are small (~2 to 3mm long) and have 6 legs, 2 stumpy feelers & 2 eyes (made up of 8 ocelli).
Not true insects as they lack wings and have soft bodies.
Dark pink underneath with dark purple backs. When walking around they look like ash from a campfire on the ground. Then you notice the ash moving!
There are millions on the ground around Ellura at the moment. Unfortunately you can't walk outside without stepping on them.
They eat fungi & rotting matter. They are part of the clean up crew, gobble up the tiniest scraps and turn it into chemicals that the plants need

We don't see them often. The latest photo's are from the 3rd mass aggregation event we've witnessed at Ellura in 11 years.
Prof' Ian Gibbins said, in relation to how springtails have such hydrophobic (water-repelling) cuticle ("skin"). " It's super complicated and involves fluctuations in the orientation of cholesterol molecules that effectively prevent other molecules sticking to them. The main ecological consequence of this is that the cuticle of the springtails stays clean in their damp habitat, which is full of small particles and micro-organisms. This is critical to their survival, since they respire ("breathe") through their cuticle so they need to keep it free from contamination. But it also lets them float on water should they end up in such a situation."

Copyright © 2023-2024 Brett & Marie Smith. All Rights Reserved. Photographed 23-Jun-2023
This species is an Australian Native Species, not listed in the SA Murray Mallee Survey of 2010.