springtail

noun
spring·tail | \ˈspriŋ-ˌtāl \

Definition of springtail 

: any of an order (Collembola) of small primitive wingless arthropods that are either classified as insects or are placed in a related class (Entognatha), that have internal mouthparts enclosed in folds of the head, usually possess a furcula used for jumping, exhibit incomplete metamorphosis, feed especially on fungi and decaying vegetation, and are typically found in moist or wet surroundings (such as soil, on the surface of water or melting snow, or in caves)

called also collembolan

Examples of springtail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But spiders do not show any predilection for human flesh, preferring the taste of insects and another small beastie called collembola, or springtail. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "If You Don't Like Insects, You Should Love Spiders," 1 June 2017 Various other organisms also popped up alive in the mollusk feces, including springtails, ciliates, nematodes, mosses, and plant seeds. Yao-hua Law, Science | AAAS, "This mite’s method of hitchhiking is not recommended," 27 Mar. 2018 But spiders do not show any predilection for human flesh, preferring the taste of insects and another small beastie called collembola, or springtail. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "If You Don't Like Insects, You Should Love Spiders," 1 June 2017 Spot the mouse tunnels, the rabbit tracks, the deer scat, the tiny springtails (also called snow fleas) popping out of the snow to gobble algae. Look for reeds nearly hidden by snow and empty nests highlighted by it. Grant Segall, cleveland.com, "Enjoy the wilds in winter with some of the season's best trails," 8 Feb. 2018 Tiny, blind trap-jaw ants hunt odd little not-quite-insects called springtails; the fascinating part is that the trap-jaw ants can only capture prey that get close enough to trigger the little hairs between the ant's jaws that snap them shut. Aimee Levitt, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Books / Science Beneath Chicago lies an entire second city of ants," 6 Sep. 2017 The arachnid-like DNA showed up in one of the caves, as did DNA from a type of insect called a springtail. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Volcanic ice caves on Antarctica may host complex life," 11 Sep. 2017 Tiny, blind trap-jaw ants hunt odd little not-quite-insects called springtails Aimee Levitt, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Books / Science Beneath Chicago lies an entire second city of ants," 6 Sep. 2017 One of the most abundant, but barely visible, arthropods in the soil are springtails. Adrian Higgins, idahostatesman, "The zoo beneath our feet: We’re only beginning to understand soil’s hidden world," 23 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'springtail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of springtail

1781, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of springtail was in 1781

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