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Springtail of the Month - 5

Species: Tomocerus  longicornis  (Müller  1776)
Collected at: Deciduous forest on E. of Lake Coniston Road.
                      It was dislodged from lichen growths on fallen branches of oak by tapping gently.
Identification key used: Aidgap Key by Steve Hopkin,  publication expected 2003.
First added: January  2002


Tomocerus  longicornis is a common species on emergent vegetation and leaf litter.  At 6mm. long  (without antennae!) it is the largest UK springtail. Its antennae exceed the body length when straight.  An extensive covering of fine scales gives it a dark appearance but underneath its cuticle is light brown or yellowish.



painted by Hollick 1873

   


The image above is a favourite of collembolists on account of its age,  its accurate detail, and the obvious genius of the artist who, surprisingly, was  deaf and dumb. With many other of Hollick’s illustrations it first appeared in Sir John Lubbock’s Monograph on Collembola and Thysanura published by the  Ray Society in 1873, the year the Postal Microscopical Society was founded.

Originally the species was named Pogonognathellus longicornis, but now , with 4 other U.K. species, it is assigned to the genus Tomocerus. It does curl up its antennae from the tip as Hollick depicted , but frequently it is found with the fine terminal segments damaged and regenerating.



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WelcomeThe PMSThe Study GroupWhat are Springtails?Collecting TechniquesObservation Techniques Cultures Identification Springtails of the MonthPhoto GalleryCorrespondence Related SitesE-mail PMS Main Site