Snow Fleas


Springtails, also known as collembolans, or springtails, are relatives of insects that live in the permafreeze of ice. Their bodies are full of antifreeze that allows them to stay active in temperatures as low as -31 degrees F.

Springtails are so called because of their uncanny ability to leap over 100 times their height. This is because of a very unique mechanism in their back legs than essentially spring boards them into the air with impressive ferocity. I wrote a post about planthoppers a while back, who have the same basic mechanism.

This fuzzy baby is less than .5mm long.

To put the springtail into perspective, this layer of moss it’s sitting on is only 10 mm tall. Keep in mind also that moss doesn’t have leaves, but are plants usually only 1 cell layer thick.

These snow fleas are courting, which is basically just banging heads together. Since the female is larger, she tests a male’s suitability by having him lift and push her around using his specially adapted antennae.

Here is an excerpt on springtails, hosted by Sir David Attenborough.

 

For more information on these cuties, click the link below.

(via)

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