Springtails in Tulsa
Image via Flickr byworld_window

You may have spotted these creatures in certain Tulsa suburbs like Owasso, Broken Arrow, and Sand Springs. Springtails, also known as collembolans, are six-legged omnivores that usually feed on decaying plant material, algae, and fungi. Despite their tiny size and bug-like appearance, 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 help balance their ecosystem.

These creatures are named for a forked, tail-like body part called a furcula, which extends from the tip of the abdomen, under the body and toward the head. 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 to spring. This is important to their survival, however, as they have poor eyesight and cannot move quickly with their legs.

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