Monday, March 26, 2012

Turd burglars

These little guys have been caught red-handed feeding on a fresh Cane Toad dropping. They are springtails (Collembola), tiny arthropods which are share some traits with insects, but have significant differences and are classified separately.

The majority of the group lack a tracheal respiratory system, instead having a porous cuticle though which gas exchange takes place. Many species have a tail-like appendage folded up underneath the abdomen called the furcula. By snapping this rapidly downward the springtail can catapult itself into the air to avoid danger.

Springtails are detritivores and microbivores, so animal droppings hold great appeal.

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