Springtails in ATLANTA
Image via Flickr byronibiza

Springtails, also known as collembolans, are omnivores with six-legs and usually feed on decaying plant material, algae, and fungi. Despite their tiny size and bug-like appearance, springtails are not insects. They break down dead plant matter and disperse fungal spores, which helps keep plants healthy, and since they also eat fungi, they help keep the ecosystem balanced.

These creatures are named for their forked, tail-like body part called a furcula. It extends from the tip of the abdomen under the body toward the head. You may have spotted these creatures in Atlanta and suburbs like Buford, Alpharetta, and Roswell. The purpose of the furcula is to make the springtail leap away when threatened, hence the name. Some species can jump up to six inches in the air. However, they only use this to escape a perceived threat despite not being able to control where they spring, have poor eyesight, and the inability to move quickly with their legs.

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