Genus Dicyrtomina: In Europe three distinct species are currently recognized: D. minuta, D. ornata and D. saundersi. In the USA, these are lumped into one species, D. minuta with the variants as subspecies forms:
Jordanathrix nr superba
Dicyrtoma fusca is a small globular springtail (1-2mm) which varies considerably in colour from a dark maroon red to a paler yellow form, the mottled patterning also varies:
The above (commonest) forms are known as Dicyrtoma fusca var.1. There is also a much rarer melanistic dark (almost black) form, Dicyrtoma fusca var.2 (not known from VC55), and a leucistic form with dark ocelli on a pale eyepatch, Dicyrtoma fusca var. rufescens:
A common species found throughout Britain. The name is of this species is confusing - some D. minuta specimens grow bigger than D. ornata. Typically pale gold and less pigmented than D. ornata (dorso-anterior pigmentation lacking in particular). Similar to D. ornata, there is a long, narrow pigment streak on the rear of the abdomen.
Frans Jannsens says that a diagnostic character to distinguish D. minuta from pale D. ornata is the colouration of the interocular+interantennal area:
D. ornata: a distinct midfacial pigmented band.
D. minuta: this band indistinct to absent (often only 2 pigmented dots remaining, 1 interocular + 1 interantennal):
The historical records for a number of groups of springtail are hopelessly confused. These include Entomobrya intermedia/nivalis and also Dicyrtomina ornata/saundersi. This species has been frequently identified by the large rectangular patch of dark pigment on the abdomen, but this species is very variable in pattern and colour. Pale juvenile specimens (<1.5mm) are difficult to separate from D. minuta (see above). Key features:
- Dorsal (in addition to lateral) abdominal pigmentation
- No sharp colour change along the length of the antennae
- Dorsal colour of the 6th abdominal segment (the dorsal anal valve) is dark (c.f. Dicyrtomina saundersi, below):
- Distinct colour change at the joint of sections 2 and 3 of the antennae
- Dorsal colour of the 6th abdominal segment (the dorsal anal valve) is light:
Jordanathrix nr. superba
This species resembles but is distinct from Dicyrtomina superba from New Zealand. Thought to be a relatively recent introduction to the UK, first recorded about 10 years ago. This species has a patch of dark pigment on the abdomen and is similar in appearance to D. ornata but the colour of the eyepatch is much paler (with dark ocelli) than the all-dark eyepatch of D. ornata: