Summary information about the distribution and ecology of Collembola (springtails) in the UK and Ireland.


The page below lists all confirmed UK Collembola, with hyperlinks to pages listing their distribution, outline taxonomic descriptions and (where known) their ecology.  The content originated with Steve Hopkin and is maintained / updated by Peter Shaw.


Class Collembola: Order Poduromorpha

Superfamily Hypogastruroidea

Family Hypogastruridae

Genus Ceratophysella Börner 1932

Genus Hypogastrura Bourlet 1839

Genus Mesogastrura Bonet 1930

Genus Schaefferia Absolon 1900

Genus Schoettella Schäffer 1896

Genus Willemia Börner 1901

Genus Xenylla Tullberg 1869

Superfamily Neanuroidea

Family Brachystomellidae 

Genus Brachystomella Ågren 1903

Family Neanuridae - Subfamily Frieseinae

Genus Friesea Dalle Torre 1895

Family Neanuridae - Subfamily Neanurinae

Genus Lathriopyga Caroli 1910

 Genus Monobella Cassagnau 1979

Genus Neanura MacGillivray 1893

Genus Paranura Axelson 1902

Genus Yuukianura Yosii 1955

Family Neanuridae - Subfamily Pseudachorutinae 

Genus Anurida Laboulbene 1865

Genus Anuridella Willem 1906

Genus Micranurida Börner 1901

Genus Pseudachorutella Stach 1949

Genus Pseudachorutes Tullberg 1871

Family Odontellidae 

Genus Odontella Schäffer 1897

Genus Xenyllodes Axelson 1903

Superfamily Onychiuroidea

Family Onychiuridae

NOTE: Although splitting the Onychiuridae into several genera can be criticised, it does have the advantage of separating out the definite species groups within the old definitions of Protaphorura (post-antennal organ (PAO) with simple vesicles) and Onychiurus (PAO with complex vesicles). Generic boundaries are by no means settled and further changes are likely in the future. The genera used in this list are those of Pomorski (1988) in his Synopsis on the Onychiurinae of Poland. The list below represents the current state of taxonomy.  Steve (who acknowledged help from Arne Fjellberg and Jacek Pomorski for help) refused to accept species as a valid UK species unless supported by a specimen in good condition, and expressed deep doubts about some species names (especially Protaphorura sp. described by Gisin). Some of the species described by Gisin had almost certainly already been seen (and in some cases described) by Bagnall, but both the descriptions and their type specimens are too poor to be helpful, implying that a thorough revision is needed of all Bagnall's and Gisin's 'species'. 

It is a testament to the taxonomic uncertainty in this family that latterly while at Reading University Steve ended up refusing to endorse species names for ANY of these blind, yellow/white litter dwellers that older workers think of as 'Onychiurus'. "Bring on the molecules" was his usual despairing reply.

Family Onychiuridae

Genus Allonychiurus Yoshii 1995

Genus Deharvengiurus Weiner 1996


Genus Detriturus Pomorski 1988

Genus Deuteraphorura Absolon 1901

Genus Kalaphorura Absolon 1901


Genus Megaphorura Fjellberg 1998

  • Megaphorura arctica (118 MAarc) So far only Skomer island

Genus Micraphorura Bagnall 1949

Genus Oligaphorura Bagnall 1949

Genus Hymenaphorura Pomorski 1990


Genus Onychiurus gervais 1841

Genus Orthonychiurus Stach 1954


Genus Protaphorura Absolon 1951

After examining more than 1000 specimens of purported Protaphorura and checking on the pseudocelli formula, the presence of a seta s' on abdomen 5, and convergence of lines drawn through setae near the anal spines, Steve Hopkin decided that only 3 broad groups could be distinguished, implying that most of the species mentioned in the literature are juvenile synonyms.  People who have worked with these animals for a while often turn up individuals where one side of the body keys to one species, while the other half of its body keys down to a different species (this effect has certainly been seen by Steve, Peter Shaw and previously his supervisor Mike Usher).  The page for P. armata includes pictures of specimens in this group displaying clear asymmetry.


Genus Supraphorura Stach 1954

Supraphorura furcifera (130 SRfur) common, widespread

Genus Thalassaphorura (Moniez, 1890)

Thalassaphorura debilis (125 THdeb) Common, littoral.


Family Tullbergiidae

Genus Mesaphorura Börner 1901

In addition to the species listed below, another 8 species are listed under "rare or uncertain".

Mesaphorura macrochaeta (161 MSmac) widespread and common.

Mesaphorura krausbaeri (160 MSkra) probably moderately common, only separated from M. macrochaeta by the l2' seta

Mesaphorura  atlantica (158 MSatl) only recorded once but very distinctive.


Genus Metaphorura Stach 1954

Metaphorura affinis (165 MTaff) widespread and fairly common in soil.

Genus Neonaphorura Stach 1954

Neonaphorura duboscqi (166 NPdub) rare

Genus Neotullbergia Bagnall 1935 

although rare, this genus has distinctive anal spines that should be looked for

Neotullbergia crassicuspis (167 NTcra) rare

Neotullbergia ramicuspis  (168 NTram) rare

Neotullbergia tricuspis (169 NTtri) rare


Genus Paratullbergia Womersley 1930

Paratullbergia callipygos (170 PTcal) widespread and common in soil.

Paratullbergia macdougalli (173 PTmac) scarce


Genus Stenaphorura Absolon 1900

Stenaphorura denisi (176SUden), Common, widespread

Stenaphorura lubbocki (177 SUlub), Moderately common, widespread

Stenaphorura quadrispina (178 SUqua), Common, widespread


Family Poduridae

Genus Podura Linnaeus 1758

Podura aquatica (179 DAqu),  Probably common and widespread but see comments


Class Collembola: Order Entomobryomorpha

Superfamily Entomobryoidea

Family Cyphoderidae

Genus Cyphoderus Nicolet 1842

Cyphoderus albinus (180 CYalb), Common in ants nests
Cyphoderus bidenticulatus (181 CYbid), rare

Family Entomobryidae

Subfamily Entomobryinae

Genus Entomobrya Rondani 1861

Entomobrya albocincta (182 ENalb), Very common, widespread, especially up vegetation
Entomobrya corticalis (184 ENcor), [rare]
Entomobrya handschini (184.5 ENhan), one record only, possibly a new species
Entomobrya intermedia (185 ENint), Common and widespread but badly confused with E. nivalis

Entomobrya lanuginosa (186 ELnan), Moderately common, probably widespread but with a tendency to be coastal.

Entomobrya marginata (187 ENmar),  Scarce
Entomobrya multifasciata (189 ENmul), Very common, widespread
Entomobrya nicoleti (191 ENnic), Very common, widespread
Entomobrya nivalis (192 ENniv),  Very common, widespread

Entomobrya unostrigata(195.5 ENuno) Not yet found in UK but may turn up in southern brownfield / disturbed sites.

Genus Entomobryoides Maynard 1951

Entomobryoides myrmecophilus (196 EMmyr), Rare, confined to ant nests


Genus Mesentoma (Salmon, 1942)

Mesentoma dollfusi (205MSdol), coastal, apparently scarce


Genus Sinella Brook 1882

Sinella curviseta (222 Sicur), scarce, synanthropic

Sinella tenebriosa (221.5 SIten) Scarce, synanthropic.  Records of Sinella caeca belong here too.



Genus Willowsia Shoebotham 1917

Willowsia buski (225 Wobus), (moderately common, synanthropic)
Willowsia platani (227 WOpla), (moderately common in dry habitats, sometimes in buildings)

Subfamily Lepidocyrtinae

Genus Lepidocyrtus Bourlet 1839

Lepidocyrtus curvicollis (197 LEcur), common, widespread
Lepidocyrtus cyaneus (198 LEcya), very common, widespread
Lepidocyrtus lanuginosus (199 ELlan), very common, widespread
Lepidocyrtus lignorum, probably common and widespread
Lepidocyrtus ruber (203 LErub), uncommon, probably widespread in damp habitats
Lepidocyrtus violaceus (204 LEvio), probably moderately common and widespread

Genus Pseudosinella Schäffer 1897

Pseudosinella alba (206 PSalb), very common, widespread

Pseudosinella decipiens (208 PSdec), moderately common, often in caves

Pseudosinella dobati (209 PSdob), confined to caves - a true troglobite

Pseudosinella halophila (211 PShal), rare, coastal

Pseudosinella immaculata (212 PSimm), very common, widespread

Pseudosinella sexoculata (216 PSsex), uncommon but widespread.


Genus Seira

Seira domestica (220 SEdom)


Genus Heteromurus

Heteromurus major (228.5 HTmaj), very scarce but is a UK species

Heteromurus nitidus (228 HEnit), widespread and common


Genus Orchesella Templeton 1835

Orchesella alticola (229 ORalt), Moderately common but largely montane
Orchesella cincta (231 ORcin), Very common, almost ubiquitous
Orchesella flavescens (232 ORfla), scarce
Orchesella quinqefasciata (233 ORqui),  scarce, apparently thermophilic/southern
Orchesella villosa (235 ORcill), Very common, widespread

Superfamily Tomoceroidea

Family Oncopoduridae

Genus Oncopodura Carl & Lebedinsky 1905

Oncopodura crassicornis (338 ONcras), scarce

Family Tomoceridae

Genus Pogonognathellus

Pogonognathellus longicornis (350 POlon), very common, widespread: often still called Tomocerus longicornis
Pogonognathellus flavescens
(349 POfla), scarce, maybe montane: often still called Tomocerus flavescens

Genus Tomocerus Nicolet 1841  

Tomocerus minor (351 TOmin), very common, widespread

Tomocerus minutus (352 TOmit) apparently rare montane species, only confirmed in Wales.
Tomocerus vulgaris (353 TOvul), Very common, widespread

[I'm not sure where to put this snippet, so I'll put it here:  Steve Hopkin assured me in 2002 that adult Tomocerus lack a post-antennal organ, but juveniles do have one.]

Family Isotomidae

Genus Anurophorus Nicolet 1842

Anurophorus laricis (238 ANlar), very common up trees, under bark etc

Anurophorus unguiculus  (240 ANung), scarce, apparently terrestrial


Genus Archisotoma Axelson 1912

Archisotoma besselsi (241 ARbes), Moderately common, widespread, littoral

Archisotoma megalops (242 ACmeg), Scarce, probably widespread, littoral

Archisotoma pulchella (243 ACpul), Moderately common, widespread, littoral

Archisotoma theae  (243.5 ARthe), probably rare and overlooked,  littoral


Genus Ballistura Börner 1906

Ballistura borealis (245 BAbor), rare, only edges of Scottish lochs.

Ballistura filifera (246 BAfil), rare, synanthropic

Ballistura schoetti  (248 BAsch), Moderately common


Genus Cryptopygus Willem 1901

Cryptopygus scapelliferus (252 CRsca), Scarce

Cryptopygus thermophilus (254 CRthe), Locally common in dry disturbed areas, southern bias.


Genus Mucrosomia Bagnall 1949

Mucrosomia (formerly Cryptopygus) garretti (250 MUgar),  widespread, with a preference for caves, mines and wet areas.


Genus Folsomia Willem 1902

The fusion of abdominal segments 4-6 makes the genus Folsomia easy to recognise, but naming the species is more tricky, not helped by mis-identifications of preserved specimens and the discovery of cryptic species within old names.  For convenience species here are arranged by number of ocelli; some species are blind (and invariably white), others have 1+1 eyes, others dark with 2+2 or 3+3 ocelli.  These  ocelli are generally easy to see in fresh material but can be very hard to see in cleared specimens.  Details of the chaetotaxy of the manubrium and dens need to be checked.  When sampling from acid soils it is common for the extract to be dominated by large numbers of grey, 2-eyed Folsomias which in theory should all be checked down to species - this is often not practical.

White, eye-less species

Folsomia bisetosa (257 FObis), Rare if present, may be hiding a new species

Folsomia candida (261 FOcan), Widespread, common, standard laboratory culture

Folsomia fimetaria (264 FOfim), Widespread, common

Folsomia inoculata (266 FOino), Apparently rare but common in at least one Scottish forest, probably overlooked.

Folsomia litsteri (267 FOlit), Rare but probably overlooked

Folsomia spinosa (278 FOspi), Moderately common

One eyed species 

Folsomia agrelli (256 FOagr), Scarce, caves only

Folsomia similis (277 FOsim), scarce.  See here also for comments on the closely related F. diplopthalma and F. palearctica.

Two eyed species (grey-black)

Folsomia brevicauda  (258 FObre), locally very common in acid bogs

Folsomia manolachei (268 FOman), Common, widespread but historically muddled with F. quadrioculata

Folsomia penicula (274 FOpen), Moderately common, widespread

Folsomia quadrioculata (275 FOqua), Common, widespread but historically muddled with F. manolachei

Three eyed species (grey/black)

Folsomia sexoculata (276 FOsex), Common, coastal.  Inland records may hide another species.

Folsomia thalassophila (279 FOtha), scarce, littoral.


Genus Folsomides Stach, 1922

Folsomides parvulus (282 FDpar),  rare, mainly in thin dry soils

Folsomides angularis - status unclear, see F. parvulus for comments.


Genus Isotomiella Bagnall, 1939

Isotomiella minor (304 ISmin), common, widespread


Genus Isotomodes Linnaniemi 1907

Isotomodes productus (307 ITpro), Common, widespread

Isotomodes templetoni (308 ITtem), only 3 records, all from Ireland in the 1930s


Genus Proctostephanus Gama, 1959

Proctostephanus madeirensis (324 PZmad), introduced, only ever found on 2 waste heaps and probably now extinct in UK


Genus Proisotoma Börner 1901

Only one species of Proisotoma is common in the UK; one appears to be scarce, the rest very scarce and either littoral or introduced.


Proisotoma buddenbrocki (326 PRbud), One record only, coastal

Proisotoma minima (327 PImin), Moderately common

Proisotoma minuta (328 PImit), Common, widespread

Proisotoma tenella 2 records from managed/cultivated sites. probably a casual/tramp species.


Genus Pseudanurophorus Stack 1922

Pseudanurophorus alticolus (331 PPalt)

Pseudanurophorus binoculatus (332 PPbin)


Genus Tetracanthella Schott 1891

Tetracanthella arctica (336 TEarc), One record

Tetracanthella brachyura (335 TAbra), Moderately common

Tetracanthella lichidnis  (338 TElic), one record

Tetracanthella pilosa (339 TEpil) One record

Tetracanthella wahlgreni (341 TEwah), probably widespread in cold acid boggy/mountainous habitats


Genus Uzelia Absolon 1901

Uzelia setifera (343 UZset), rare, probably under-recorded in canopy communities.


Genus Agrenia Börner 1906

Agrenia bidenticulata (237 AGbid), Common in wet habitats in the north-west, also in caves.


Genus Axelsonia Börner 1906

Axelsonia littoralis (244 AXlit), Scarce, littoral


Genus Desoria Nicolet 1841

Desoria antennalis - See Isotomurus antennalis (285 ISant)

Desoria infuscata  (291 DOinf), rare, upland sphagnum bogs.

Desoria tigrina (301 DOtig), Common, widespread

Desoria trispinata (302.1 DOtri) Probable alien horticultural import; so far one record but could be widespread.

Desoria violacea (302 DOvio), Common, probably widespread


Genus Halisotoma Bagnall, 1949

Halisotoma maritima (293 HAmar), coastal, widespread

Halisotoma poseidonis (298 HApos), coastal, rare or under-recorded.


Genus Isotoma Bourlet 1839

Isotoma anglicana (284 ISang), Common, widespread, has been muddled with I. viridis

Isotoma antennalis - See Isotomurus antennalis (285 ISant),

Isotoma caerulea (289 IScae), unclear, possibly widespread but under-reported.

Isotoma riparia (299.5 ISrip), apparently scarce, only at edge of rivers, probably under-reported.

Isotoma viridis (303 ISvir), Common, widespread, has been muddled with I. anglicana.


Genus Isotomurus Börner 1903 

 See this link for Arne Fjellberg's Isotomurus key


Isotomurus antennalis (285 ISant), scarce, stripy, of enigmatic distribution.

Isotomurus balteatus (312 IRbal),  a stripy hothouse alien, may well be long extinct in UK.

Isotomurus fucicolus (314 IRfuc), probably moderately common species - brown/purple.

Isotomurus maculatus (315 IRmac), probably common but under-recorded

Isotomurus palustris (316 IRpal), very common in moist habitats but hopelessly muddled with Isotomurus unifasciatus

Isotomurus gramineus (318 IRgra) (= I. prasinus)  Probably common, bright green, potential to be confused with Isotoma viridis.

Isotomurus plumosus (317 IRplu) Common, usually collected on wet vegetation at edge of still water.

Isotomurus unifasciatus (320.5 IRuni) Probably common but hopelessly muddled with Isotomurus palustris


Genus Parisotoma Bagnall, 1940

Parisotoma notabilis (296 PInot), very common, widespread - almost ubiquitous.


Genus Pseudisotoma (Tullberg, 1876)

Pseudisotoma sensibilis  (334 PSsen), Very common, especially in sunny spots on acid soils. 


Genus Vertagopus Börner 1906

Vertagopus arborea (344 VEarb), common and widespread, mainly on trees / bark.

Vertagopus cinereus (345 VEsin), Common and widespread, mainly on trees / bark.

Genus Pachytoma Bagnall, 1939

Pachytoma crassicauda (321 PAcra)


Class Collembola: Order Neelipleona

Family Neelidae

Genus Megalothorax Willem 1900

Megalothorax minimus (355 MGmin), widespread, common but overlooked as tiny.

Genus Neelides Caroli 1912

Neelides minutus (356 NEmin), Probably rare, overlooked as tiny


Genus Neelus Folsom, 1896

Neelus murinus (357 MEmur), Moderately common, mainly in caves


Class Collembola: Order symphypleona

Family Arrhopalitidae

Genus Arrhopalites Börner 1906

Arrhopalites caecus (380 AHcae), Common, widespread especially in caves

Arrhopalites principalis (382 ARpri), scarce (see also for Arrhopalites cochlearifer)

Arrhopalites pygmaeus (383 ARpyg), common, widespread especially in caves

Arrhopalites sericus (384 ARser), scarce (see also for Arrhopalites bifidus)


Family Bourletiellidae

Genus Bourletiella (Banks, 1899)

Bourletiella arvalis (358 BOarv), common, widespread

Bourletiella hortensis (359 BOhor), common, widespread

Bourletiella viridescens (361 BOvir), not properly confirmed, but probably present in montane vegetation


Genus Deuterosminthurus Börner, 1901

Deuterosminthurus bicinctus (363 DEbic), moderately common

Deuterosminthurus pallipes (365 DEpal), common, widespread

Deuterosminthurus sulphureus (367 DEsul), moderately common


Genus Heterosminthurus

Heterosminthurus bilineatus (368 HSbil), moderately common
Heterosminthurus claviger (369 HScla), rare, found in pennine grasslands.
Heterosminthurus insignis (371 HSins), moderately common
Heterosminthurus novemlineatus (372 HSnov), rare

Family Dicyrtomidae

Genus Dicyrtoma

Dicyrtoma fusca (373 DIfus), common, widespread

Genus Dicyrtomina

Dicyrtomina minuta (374 DImin), very common, widespread

Dicyrtomina ornata (375 DIorn), common, widespread with northern bias.
Dicyrtomina saundersi (376 DIsau), very common: see map for comments

Genus Calvatomina

Calvatomina superba (376.5 CVsup) a garden-centre import

Calvatomina rufescens (376.6 CVruf) Status unclear, but something looking like this is turning up on macro-photography pages. 

Genus Ptenotrix

Ptenothrix atra (377 PXatr), rare

Ptenothrix carpenteri (378 PXcar)

Family Katiannidae

Genus Katianna

Katianna schoetti

Katianna australis


Genus nov:

"Katianna sp 3  "  Not a katianna but a new genus; despite this may be quite common in Cornwall, plus garden sites anywhere.


Genus nov:

sp nov a spotty alien found in Richmond park.


Genus Gisinianus

Gisinianus flammeolus (386 GIfla), status unclear, see map for comments

Genus Sminthurinus

Sminthurinus albifrons (387 SNalb), rare, no recent records
Sminthurinus aureus (388 SNaur), very common, widespread
Sminthurinus bimaculatus (389 SNbim), status unclear, see map for comments
Sminthurinus cingulatus (390 SNcin), no specimens known, 1 record from Spey valley

Sminthurinus concolor (391 SNcon), scarce
Sminthurinus domesticus (392 SNdom), rare, synanthropic
Sminthurinus elegans (393 SNele), common, widespread
Sminthurinus igniceps (394 SNign), status unclear, see map for comments
Sminthurinus lawrencei (395 SNlaw), status unclear, see map for comments
Sminthurinus niger (396 SNnig), common, widespread
Sminthurinus trinotatus (397SNtri), synanthropic

Sminthurinus reticulatus (398 SNret) apparently a newly established and rapidly expanding form/species.

Family Sminthuridae

Genus Allacma

Allacma fusca (409 ALfus), common, widespread

genus Caprainea

Caprainea marginata (410 CAmar), rare

genus Disparrhopalites

Disparrhopalites patrizi (411 DSpat), rare, only known from caves in Devon (2) and Wales (1).

Genus Lipothrix

Lipothrix lubbocki (412 LIlub), moderately common, ancient woodland only

genus Sminthurus

Sminthurus multipunctatus (Schäffer, 1896) one 19th century record, unlikely to be present
Sminthurus nigromaculatus (414 SMnig), scarce but definitely present in sandy areas

Sminthurus viridis (415 SMvir), very common, widespread

Family Sminthurididae

Genus Sminthurides

Sminthurides aquaticus (399 SDaqu), common

Sminthurides bifidus (400SDbif) one record, worth checking for in ponds (espcially used for fish cultivation).
Sminthurides cruciatus (401 SDcru), rare, no recent records
Sminthurides malmgreni (402 SDmal), very common, widespread
Sminthurides parvulus (403 SDpar), common, widespread
Sminthurides pseudassimilis (404 SDpse), rare
Sminthurides schoetti (405 SDsch), common, widespread
Sminthurides signatus (406 SDsig), moderately common

genus Sphaerida

Sphaeridia pumilis (407 SPpum), very common, widespread


Genus Stenacidia

Stenacidia violacea (408 STvio), moderately common

genus Sphyrotheca

Sphyrotheca multifasciata (416 SYmul), rare, hothouses only, may not still occur in UK.


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