(228HEnit) Heteromurus nitidus (Templeton, 1835)

Heteromurus nitidus (Figs. 1, 2 and 3) is a widespread and common species found in a variety of habitats rich in organic matter. It is also common in caves. The body is covered in rounded scales (Fig. 4) and the antennae have five segments with the terminal section (ant5) 'annulated' with numerous regularly-spaced subsegments (Fig. 5). The eyes consist of a single reddish-brown ocellus on each side of the head (Fig. 6). The mucro has two teeth (Fig. 7) and the empodium of the foot is about 80% as long as the claw (Fig. 8).

Heteromurus nitidus is one of the easiest species of springtail to culture in the laboratory.  It turns up on macro-photographs as the 'red-eyed Collembolan', as here.

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 1: Heteromurus nitidus in a laboratory culture bred from individuals collected from under rotting wood in a garden in Reading.

Fig. 2: Heteromurus nitidus in a laboratory culture bred from individuals collected from under rotting wood in a garden in Reading.

Fig. 3: Heteromurus nitidus in a laboratory culture. Note the numerous moulted exoskeletons which build up on the substrate over time.

Fig. 4: Rounded scales on the body of Heteromurus nitidus collected from a garden compost heap bird nest in Reading in July 1987 by M.N. Wetton.

Fig. 5: Fifth antennal segment (ant5) of the same specimen of Heteromurus nitidus shown in Fig. 4. Note the regularly arranged setae (ant1 is subdivided in this species giving a total of five segments).

Fig. 6: Head of the same specimen of Heteromurus nitidus shown in Fig. 4. The eyes consist of a single brown ocellus on each side.

Fig. 7: Tip of the furca of the same specimen of Heteromurus nitidus shown in Fig. 4.

Fig. 8: Foot of the third leg of the same specimen of Heteromurus nitidus shown in Fig. 4.

 

 
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