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The Seashore

Marine Springtails (Anurida maritima) Marine Springtails (Anurida maritima)

A writhing mass of marine springtails feeding on a dead barnacle

The marine springtail is one of the few insects living on the seashore, 4mm maximum length. They are a deep blue-black colouration and this is due to the dense, velvet-like covering of hair, which repels water. You will often find groups of springtails using these water repellant hairs to live on the surface tension of small pools.

Contrary to most springtails these marine ones cannot spring. When the tide returns they hide in a crevice, the fine body hairs allow the animal to capture a bubble of air which enables aerial respiration whilst underwater. These marine springtails are scavengers, finding food by smell. See photo above.

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