This website is a summary of Collembola (springtails) currently recorded from South Africa and the Prince Edward Islands. Springtails are small, primitive wingless invertebrates and amongst the most abundant and widespread organism in the world, being especially common in soil. They are best recognised by their unique forked jumping organ, or furca, folded under the abdomen, and the ‘ventral tube’ an abdominal organ used for water balance. There are more than 8,000 species globally. Collembola mostly feed on detritus, fungal hyphae and other microorganisms. Males deposit a spermatophore, which is taken up by the female, who subsequently lays eggs singly or in batches in the soil, although some species can also reproduce parthenogenetically. Juveniles resemble adults, only differing in size and number of setae. Moulting occurs periodically throughout the lifespan, which varies from a few months to several years.

Although knowledge is growing for this group in Southern Africa, studies on their distribution and ecological function are lacking and there are still many undescribed species. This website will be continuously updated with maps, photos and new species descriptions.

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Thanks to Dr. Grant Duffy for production of the species distribution maps.