Springtail Scales

Many Collembola (Springtails) are covered with scales, secretions of the epidermis that in some cases cover the body. The function of the scales is an open question. Functions may differ among springtails that have biological differences. Collembola taxonomists use the presence, shape and density of scales to distinguish some Collembola species. A note by Hawes and Greenslade* describes the diversity of scale morphology and density in a single Collembola species, Lepidophorella australis. They make an analogy between the diversity of shapes of Collembola scales and the shape of feathers on birds. This note is a caution to taxonomists that scale diversity must be considered carefully if used in identification.

Springtail Scales   Image: Hawes and Greenslade*

Springtail Scales

*TIMOTHY C. HAWES & PENELOPE GREENSLADE. 2015. A note on scale morphology in Collembola. Zootaxa 3925 (4): 594–596. http://zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:7AFE94C3-32C4-41DF-8438-4F065B00A521

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an 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.
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