Clover Springtail - Sminthurus viridis

Alternative names
Lucerne Flea.

A relatively large greenish or yellowish springtail reaching 3 mm in length. The fourth antennal segment (ant4) is divided into 18 subsegments.  The following guide helps to distinguish Sminthurus from Sminthurides: where macrosetae are distinctly present on the abdomen it is probably Sminthurus if absent or indistinct it is likely to be Sminthurides. There are two variants of this species. Sminthurus viridis ssp. cinereoviridis has two spots on small abdomen; in the ecovariant nigromaculatus of S. viridis, three spots are present. 

Identification difficulty

It lives on the soil surface in a variety of habitats including grassland and woodland, and feeds on leguminous plants.

When to see it

All year round, but peak time is spring and summer.

Life History

Often swarms in large numbers on living plants, especially Fabaceae.

UK Status

Widespread and fairly frequent in Britain.

VC55 Status

Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map