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Protecting nature through research, education, and outreach

Springtails

Spring has sprung!! The weather has turned, the snow has melted and the perennials are starting to emerge – which means a lot of organisms are going to be poking their heads from their “winter siestas”.

One organism in particular that will be hopping around the leaf litter will be the Springtails!

Springtails are tiny insects (1/16 to 1/8 inch) that live in the top soil where there is a lot of moisture; they are not considered to be an indicator species that let us know that the spring season has arrived; rather their name is derived from their ability to spring into the air.

Springtails are able to hop by their furlica, which is a two-pronged appendage that they snap towards their body when they are feeling threatened.

Springtails may be considered a nuisance to gardeners because they tend to feed on the roots of the plants and can easily produce thousands of offspring at a fast rate, but are very important to the forest habitats.

They are great recyclers of the organic material found on the forest floor. They feed on algae, fungus, and decaying plant matter and thrive in moist locations.

Springtails are also one of the known species able to break down DDT, the pesticide that created havoc for many birds in the 1960’s.

Hop on over to the Lloyd Center to enjoy the change of seasons. Take a walk through our trails, smell the fresh spring air and witness the spring emergence!

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