- Last updated on 2002.08.20 by Frans Janssens
Checklist of the Collembola: Springtail - Poem by Peter N. Lawrence


Springtail. Peter N. Lawrence. 2002

by Peter N. Lawrence. 2002.02.25

Springtail is an erroneous name,
For delightful arthropod, of soil habit fame.
They have no tails but two fused pegs,
That are nothing but a pair of abdominal legs.

Each of the pair has dental hooks,
Endopodites in the Crustacean books.
Certainly some Collembola perform beautiful jumps,
Or springs in the air, over tiny soil humps.

Some of the order have no such ability,
But they wiggle and worm with utmost agility.
Anurida maritima is a springless type,
But seven thoracic segments are marked with a stripe.

On the head of many Collembola are four feelers,
A pair rather longer & post antennal dealers,
With lobes increasingly complex with depth of soil,
Yet once doubtless as antennal apex did toil.

A further pair of abdominal legs are shorter still,
And form a ventral tube, protecting the gill.
So with the Collembola, some spring & some limp.
Morphology suggests they evolved from a "shrimp".

From sea to the land via Amphipod beach,
The gill-breathing, soil-water has much us to teach.
These ubiquitous creatures, with remarkable agility,
May play an important role in Soil Fertility.

The mental patient who advanced these ideas,
Is greeted with boos, is greeted with cheers.
If he is right and you take up his song,
Then Linnaeus, Darwin and Imms, they were wrong!