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springtail

[spring-teyl] /ˈsprɪŋˌteɪl/
noun
1.
any of numerous minute, wingless primitive insects of the order Collembola, most possessing a special abdominal appendage for jumping that allows for the nearly perpetual springing pattern characteristic of the group.
Origin
1790-1800
1790-1800; spring + tail1
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for springtails

springtail

/ˈsprɪŋˌteɪl/
noun
1.
any primitive wingless insect of the order Collembola, having a forked springing organ with which it projects itself forward
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for springtails

springtail

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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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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