any of approximately 6,000 small, primitive, wingless insects that range in length from 1 to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inch). Most species are characterized by a forked appendage (furcula) attached at the end of the abdomen and held in place under tension from the tenaculum, a clasplike structure formed by a pair of appendages. Although the furcula provides a jumping apparatus for the collembolan, enabling it to catapult itself (hence the common name springtail), the usual method of locomotion is crawling. Springtails also have a ventral abdominal, suckerlike tube (collaphore), which secretes a sticky, adhesive substance and also takes up water. The young hatch from spherical eggs and closely resemble the adult. There can be 3 to 12 molts before maturity and up to about 50 molts during the lifetime of a springtail.
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