Long considered insects, springtails now form a class in their own right within the sub-phylum of hexapods * (in which insects are dominant) belonging to the phylum of arthropods **. There are around 8000 species in the world, of which around 2200 are present in Europe, and we continue to discover them regularly. It is estimated that there are still 20 to 30 000 to discover.
The diagram below, very summary, allows to locate the four orders of Springtails.
* Hexapoda (Hexapoda) is a subphylum that includes insects and other arthropods with three pairs of legs (protoures, diploids and springtails). Hexapods are composed of three parts, the head, the thorax and the abdomen.
** of the Greek arthron (articulation) and podos (foot), the arthropods are a branch of animals whose plan of organization is characterized by a body formed of segments some of which are equipped with a pair of articulated appendages and covered of a cuticle or a hard shell, which is their exoskeleton, in most cases made of chitin. Their so-called growth moult allows them (by periodically replacing their external skeleton), to grow in size or to acquire new organs and for some, to change shape (moult of metamorphosis).