Springtails & Bristletails
Springtails are a class of Arthropods. The exact taxonomic classification of springtails is the subject of debate. Previously thought to be insects, some now put them in a different group. They are characterised by having a jumping organ, or furca, underneath their body that can fling them to safety if attacked. There are around 250 UK species in the UK but they are little studied in Leicestershire and Rutland. They are however one of the most abundant animal groups and can be found in most moist habitats. Being small and soft-bodied, Springtails can be hard to identify, though a few are recognisable from decent macro photos. The gallery on NatureSpot offers a guide to some of the most common species and the photo ID ratings indicate which can be reasonably identified without keying out a specimen.
The VC55 County Co-ordinator for springtails: email@example.com
As with all records, any submissions you make to NatureSpot will be automatically forwarded to both local and national recording schemes.
Collembola website UK species key
A Key to the Collembola (Springtails) of Britain and Ireland, Steve Hopkin. FSC Aidgap (£22)
An Illustrated key to the families of British Springtails (Collembola) - Field Studies Council (£3)
Other useful websites and publications
Flickr springtails group - images posted there tagged with "Collembola" usually receive identifications.
If you know of other websites or books that you would recommend, do let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org