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.
*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