Sunday, 20 May 2018

Deuterosminthurus pallipes

Deuterosminthurus pallipes

Deuterosminthurus pallipes is a small gobular springtail noted for appearing on vegetation from spring to autumn. These individuals represent mature adults looking to perform their mating dance on a leaf. The distinctive features of this springtail are the long length of the antennae (nearly as long as the body) and the distinctive arrangement of ocelli on the eyespot:
  • 3 large ocelli in upper row
  • 1 small central ocellus
  • 4 lower "normal" ocelli:
Deuterosminthurus pallipes Ocelli

Deuterosminthurus pallipes

Male antennae distinctly longer (relative to body length) than females:
Deuterosminthurus pallipes


Deuterosminthurus pallipes

The other notable thing about this species is that it occurs in two colour forms, purple and a yellow form called Deuterosminthurus pallipes form repandus. This form is easy to confuse with Sminthurinus aureus (which has somewhat shorter antennae, different arrangement of ocelli). Males and females occur in both colour forms, frequently in mixed populations, and freely interbreed:

Deuterosminthurus pallipes form repandus

Deuterosminthurus pallipes form repandus

Deuterosminthurus pallipes form repandus

Frans Janssens says that the angular body shape seen in the specimen above represents an immature individual where the gonads are not fully mature.

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