Definition of springtail in US English:

springtail

noun

  • A minute primitive wingless insect which has a springlike organ under the abdomen that enables it to leap when disturbed. Springtails are abundant in the soil and leaf litter.

    Order Collembola: many families

    • ‘Scavenging crabs clean the bones, as do the smaller invertebrates such as the tiny springtails that live in the sand.’
    • ‘The earliest described insects are flightless; they occur in Scottish Devonian rocks, and are similar to modern springtails.’
    • ‘Using high-speed digital cameras up to frame rates of 5,000 frames per second, the team was able to film, in extreme detail, tiny springtails jumping, showing exactly how different species jump and right themselves when they land.’
    • ‘Various crane flies, spiders, springtails and other species have life cycles of 3 to 5 years.’
    • ‘The GM portions of the beet fields also had fewer butterflies, but more springtails, which are small arthropods that feed on dead plants.’

Pronunciation

springtail

/ˈspriNGtāl/