Springtails (Hypogastrura spp.)

springtails (Hypogastrura spp.)
Photo by Luciearl

Hypogastrura is a genus of springtails. They are sometimes called snow fleas, but this common name is properly applied to just one species, Hypogastrura nivicola. There are at least 159 Hypogastrura species worldwide, at least 89 species in North America, and at least 1 species in Minnesota. They are found in moist areas rich in organic matter. They often appear in in very large numbers.

Hypogastrura springtail has a plump, elongated oval body. It is bluish-black but appears black when viewed against a light background. The legs and antennae are short. Identifying a springtail to the genus Hypogastrura is relatively simple, but identifying one to the species is extremely difficult. It requires microscopic examination of the hairs on the last leg segment.


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