Springtail

Springtail (Anurida maritime) are a common marine invertebrate found throughout most of the British Isles and the rest of Europe. They are a small insect-like creature which has a black, brown or dark blue segmented body with six legs and short antenna. The maximum length is usually 5 to 6mm. They are an unusual sea creature as they are air-breathing. Their body is covered in hairs which trap air bubbles and allow them to float on the surface of water. There are many other insects and creatures commonly referred to as springtails throughout the world which sometimes leads to confusion.

They will crawl around rocks but are most commonly seen in groups crawling on the surface water of rockpools. These groups can consist of hundreds of individual springtails, but usually consist of far fewer than this. However, they are capable of surviving underwater as their can breathe the bubbles of air which are trapped in their hairs. Springtail feed on dead animal matter, especially shellfish and crustaceans, although they will also eat seaweed as well. Despite its name the springtail is incapable of springing or jumping in the way a sand hopper can.

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