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Cultures

Glass or clear plastic jars, typically 80mm diameter and 80 mm high are suitable for use as culture containers. A lid should be left on to prevent the more powerful species escaping and to prevent dissemination of fungal spores . For viewing, a clear plastic or glass sheet should be substituted (a petri dish cover is suitable).
Prepare a substrate at the bottom of the container, some 20mm thick, by mixing up Polyfilla with some carbon black (for viewing pale springtails) or custard powder (for viewing dark springtails). Scratch shallow grooves in the surface (in a noughts and crosses pattern). The springtails will use the grooves to shelter from harsh lighting, but by turning the container round they will be illuminated for short periods before they move on. We have recently found that if a ‘cold’ light is used (fibre optic light pipe) then the springtails do not bother to hide.
Keep the substrate slightly damp (tap water is suitable) do not overdo the watering. For feeding, use very small pieces (1-2 mm) of boiled carrot or potato.
Inoculate the substrate with selected specimens of the required species and settle back to observe the interactions and the life cycles. Don’t forget to keep a check on the moisture level. Springtails eat fungal hyphae which grow on the food particles, but if the fungus looks as though it is getting out of hand then remove some of it.

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• Welcome • The PMS • The Study Group • What are Springtails? • Collecting Techniques • Observation Techniques • Cultures • Identification • Springtails of the Month • Photo Gallery • Correspondence •Related Sites • E-mail • PMS Main Site •