springtail

noun
spring·​tail | \ ˈspriŋ-ˌtāl How to pronounce springtail (audio) \

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 At first blush, the scientists noticed that springtails were attracted to the Streptomyces bait, but wanted to conduct further testing. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Here's the Weird Thing That Causes the Smell of Spring," 14 Apr. 2020 The frogs likely evolved their tiny stature to take advantage of ecological niches few other creatures can, for instance by hunting equally tiny prey such as ants, termites, and springtails. National Geographic, "New staple-size frog is one of the tiniest ever discovered," 27 Mar. 2019 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 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 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 The frogs likely evolved their tiny stature to take advantage of ecological niches few other creatures can, for instance by hunting equally tiny prey such as ants, termites, and springtails. National Geographic, "New staple-size frog is one of the tiniest ever discovered," 27 Mar. 2019 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

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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Cite this Entry

“Springtail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/springtail. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with springtail

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