Living Without Wings



A commonly heard complaint among small wingless arthropods, “We never go anywhere!” Powered flight gives insects a great advantage of controlled aerial movement from place to place. Small wingless species can travel through the air, but often with little control of take off and landing.

Collembola are tiny wingless hexapods that jump but lack wings and powered flight. They can build high population densities on the ground. A population may be restricted to a small area bounded by barriers that they cannot cross by jumping. Collembola are still able to move about the planet through the atmosphere. Springtails have been collected from the atmosphere as high as 3350 meters (almost 2 miles). In addition to jumping, collembola can climb trees. Farrow and Greenslade* reported a migration of approximately 500,000 sprintails up the side of a tree, presumably to launch themselves from the treetops into the airstream to be carried downwind.

*Farrow R.A., Greenslade P., A vertical migration of Collembola, Entomologist, 1992, 111, 38-45

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by goyelin, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

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