Saturday, March 11, 2017

Collembola, Their Containers, and an Announcement

I've recently been on quite the springtail craze and I've collected two more interesting species since I last posted! The first species is Orchesella cincta, a springtail belonging to the same genus as the titanic species I most recently posted about, Orchesella villosa. This species is arguably more beautiful than O.villosa displaying amazing contrast between the lime green stripe, which goes across the middle of their abdomen, and the very dark body color of the black morph individuals. Despite their (arguably) superior looks, this species only grows to about 2/3 the size of its cousin. I currently have my nearly twenty individuals set-up in a 32 oz. plastic container with a number of toothpick holes in the lid. They are being kept on a substrate of moist coconut fiber, which I sprinkle yeast over(for feeding) and have a layer of crumbled dead leaves on top of. Besides that, I also have a couple whole leaves in there to serve as additional hides.
Here's some pics of them and their springtail house. :)


O.cincta enclosure
I have not been able to get a species I.D for the second species, but what I do know is that they're one of the pudgy, blue, and extremely cold tolerant members of the genus Hypogastrura. My specimens were collected when I noticed a massive congregation (easily five-hundred) of them on a decayed log in the middle of a local nature preserve. I had been seeking these odd springtails for a while now so I was extremely happy when I discovered them!😃 Members of this genus are so cold tolerant that they can be found jumping around on the top layer of snow in the middle of winter(sub-adults also apparently require a cool period in order to mature so I'll have to move them to a chillier place in my house soon)! They are also so fragile and soft-bodied that I accidently smooshed a few while trying to ease them into their enclosure with the slightly stiff bristles of a brush(this, of course, makes collecting them from the flat surfaces that they are usually found on nearly impossible without actually breaking or cutting off the whole piece of material).☹ I'm not sure how many individuals I have, but the number seems to be somewhere around thirty. I have these chubby, little guys housed in a 32 oz. plastic container with a good amount of toothpick holes in the lid. I'm keeping them on moist coconut fiber, which I have a layer of dead leaves on top of, and sprinkle the yeast onto. For the hides as well as a place to cling onto, I additionally included a few pieces of the bark that they were found on.
Here's some pics!

Hypogastrura sp.

Hypogastrura sp. enclosure
Besides the new species that I found, I also wanted to take this opportunity to share that I've successfully bred the O.villosa and to show you guys some better pics of them, one of their babies, and enclosure!
Here 'ya go!


Baby O.villosa

O.villosa enclosure
Really happy that I have bred these guys and that they have already proven to be a very simple species! While taking the pictures I also just noticed how much the resemble decaying leaves! LOL As you can see, I gave them basically an identical set-up to that of the O.cincta.
In closing I just wanted to announce that All About Insects Blog now has its very own Facebook page!!! It's been something that I've wanted to create ever since I joined FB a few months ago, but just got around to it recently. If any of you ever want to give it a look, you can find it at this link here: .
Thanks to all of you for taking the time to check out another one of my blog posts and I'll see you guys next time, goodbye!😊


  1. Very nice new additions, and glad you've had success breeding the O.villosa! :) Wonder if any of these would make decent cleanup crew species...

    1. Thanks, I'm definitely very happy about that, they're probably my favorite springtail currently in culture!
      It'd be interesting to test them out, I have a feeling that O.villosa may very well be useful as a cleanup crew since they seem very hardy and reproduce in large numbers, possibly the O.cincta as well. The Hypogastrura wouldn't seem to have much value as a cleanup crew though since they require a cooling period in order to mature, which would likely not be an option when being kept with most tropical arthropod species.

    2. What I would really like is a large springtail species that doesn't breed in huge numbers, but is still hardy and good at keeping mites at bay. Sinella curviseta is proving to be quite the menace in a few of my enclosures, they don't make good cleanup crews for slow breeding, slow growing roaches, as they breed much faster and in larger numbers than them and can stress them out just as much as mites with constant tactile contact. With faster growing roaches they do OK though, and sometimes the roaches even outcompete and eradicate them from their enclosures.

      The Hypogastrura would probably make good cleanup crews in the enclosures of northern Parcoblatta strains that require a diapause, as they would get their cool period, and would be able to survive the cold temps that would kill other, tropical springtail species. :)

    3. That would be nice. Although O.villosa are proving to be quite prolific so they likely wouldn't be good for the those slower breeding/growing roaches, I might have around 70 young already.

      That's true, but that's still a very small percentage of roaches that they would be suitable for.

    4. Wow, they are quite prolific then! Maybe not the best choice for slower breeding roaches, but they definitely have potential to become a good cleanup crew species!

      Yeah, in the long run they definitely won't make good cleanup crews for anything but the few northern roach species that require a diapause, but they still look really cool! :)

  2. Update: Turns out that the black O.cincta specimens are actually males, not black morphs.