Eastern Green Grass Springtail

This is an entirely new genus for me — and family — and class! These tiny little insects (only about 2mm long) are very common, but also extremely small, and they like to hide under decaying plant and animal matter so we don’t really see them much. This is the eastern green grass springtail, or Salina banksi (sounds like a character in a movie, doesn’t it?)

Springtails get their name because they use their tails (actually specialized, forked appendages called furculas — sadly not visible in this photo) to lever themselves into the air, jumping up to a meter! They like damp conditions and organic debris, and feed on fungi, pollen, algae, or decaying matter. They will infest houseplants, but only if the soil is kept very moist.

I include this photo here just to give a sense of scale. This is the top of my trash can, and those letters are about half an inch high. Springtails are tiny! and fast! They are also entirely harmless to humans, so enjoy them!

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