Springtails in Corpus Christi
Image via Flickr byLord V

Springtails are six-legged omnivores known as collembolans that usually feed on decaying plant material, algae, and fungi. They may have a tiny size and bug-like appearance. However, springtails are not technically insects. They break down dead plant matter and spread fungal spores, which helps keep plants healthy, and since they eat fungi as well, they are good balancers for the ecosystem.

These creatures are named for their forked, tail-like body part called a furcula. The furcula extends from the tip of the abdomen under the body toward the head. You may have spotted these creatures in Corpus Christi and suburbs like Mustang-Padre Island, Calallen, and South Side. The purpose of the furcula is to make the springtail leap away when threatened, hence the name. Some species can jump as high as six inches in the air. However, they only use this to escape a perceived threat because they cannot accurately control where they spring. The furcula is beneficial to their survival, although they have poor eyesight and cannot move quickly with their legs.

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