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It's a collembolan (springtail), probably a species in the family Isotomatidae. Two obvious characters are the furcula (the springtail mechanism) at the end of the abdomen, and an organ called a collaphore that's just anterior to the 3rd set of legs (attached to the metathorax). The prothorax is reduced, but visible, which is another character of this family.


Most people don't even notice springtails, and many do not even have the springing mechanism. They are principally terrestrial, although many are found on the surfaces of water (and a few also submerge). Terrestrial springtails are really ubiquitous, and their densities can be truly staggering (sometimes tens of thousands per square meter!).


Some interesting links:




Finally, collembolans are not recognized as insects, as they have internal mouthparts and the two features mentioned above (besides a host of internal characters); they're more closely related to Diplura and Protura.


Cheers, Ethan


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