For 400 million years that springtails have been evolving on Earth, they have occupied a wide variety of niches. One of the reasons for their survival is their small size that allowed them to colonize interstitial soil, dead vegetation or other confined spaces.
What is the relationship between a springtail and a pipeline ? The question may seem odd, which is why I am trying to provide some answers in this article inspired by a study1 conducted by researchers from the Science and Technology Division of King Abdullah University in Saudi Arabia...
The cuticle is with the springtails what the skin is to the human, but the comparison stops there because this thin film which covers the whole body of a springtail has astonishing properties. Regarding its constitution, if we refer to the right part of the diagram below,
Springtails are animals ranging in size from approximately 0.12 mm to 17 mm. They have a head, a chest consisting of three segments and an abdomen that includes six. The head carries antennas, the thorax has three pairs of legs and the abdomen has a jumping organ called furca and other organs with specific functions
This organ, which is specific to springtails, is used to make jumps to escape predators or to quickly leave the environment in which they live, for example to escape a current of water that could lead them. Although in some cases able to control the direction in which
The antennas of springtails adopt various forms as shown by the images at the end of the article, but as for other organs their constitution, whatever the families, have similar characters or similar (among others four segments). They are particularly well endowed with sensory structures
The mouthparts are not visible because they are embedded in a cavity (This is among other features distinguishing springtails from insects). The species thus defined are described as enthroned. Oral parts play a very important role in the identification and classification of species
Also called ventral tube, it is located on the first abdominal segment (above, images made with an electron microscope) More or less elongated according to the group (generally longer in Symphypleones), it consists of a ventral tube and carries at its base a pair of thin-walled excretile vesicles
The full bristles and the sensory bristles (sensilla) play several roles, respectively that of protection or ornament and for the innervated bristles, the role of mechanical receiver but also for some of them that of chemoreceptor. In order to better understand the functional difference between a