How do springtails survive on water?
AThe water springtail Podura aquatica occupies the surface of any still water from ponds to puddles, and has several adaptations that enable it to survive. It is covered in tiny hydrophobic bumps that keep it dry as it grazes algae or scavenges on organic matter, and a special hydrophilic tube, known as a collophore, for keeping a grip on the surface tension. The animals also float in rafts, particularly in fine weather, affording them safety in numbers and helping them to find mates.
Like their cousins that reside under logs and in the leaf litter, water springtails can jump by flipping open their long, spatulate tail-spring organs, hitting them against the surface tension without breaking it. The seashore springtail
Anurida maritima forms similar rafts on rockpools, and though it can also anchor itself using its collophore, lack of a springed tail means it can only waddle on the water.
Water springtails live on the water surface all year round, bearing several generations.