Are These Springtails?

Discussion in 'Celebrate Biodiversity' started by vitog, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Burnaby, Canada
    Today, while hiking on the slopes of Grouse Mountain not far below the snow line, I encountered several masses of minute critters that created an obvious elongated patch of grey colour on the ground under an open coniferous forest. The individuals in the group were too small to discern the details of their body structure, but I noticed that some of them move in agitated fashion by hopping. Since I've read somewhere that springtails can hop quite far relative to their body size, they were the only thing that I could think of. Some research on the Web showed that they are very common, but I didn't find any reference to group behaviour such as I had seen. Also, most of the springtails depicted were larger than the ones that I saw. Perhaps these were masses of young ones. Here is a photo of one group that I saw; the group was several feet long and mostly under a foot wide. Individuals were a fraction of a millimetre in length; you can see from the closeup photo that they have the same general shape as springtails. Can anyone confirm if these are actually springtails, and if they were engaged in some kind of group activity?

    Thanks,
    Vito
     

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