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Protura specimen (Acerentomon species) micrograph.jpg
Proturan specimen (Acerentomon sp.)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Entognatha
Subclass and Orders
Diplura, a Two-pronged Bristletail -- not closely related to three-pronged bristletails in the Archaeognatha Two-pronged Bristletail (Diplura) (10353381334).jpg
Diplura , a Two-pronged Bristletail not closely related to three-pronged bristletails in the Archaeognatha
Collembola, family Sminthuridae Katianna oceanica (13913339330).jpg
Collembola, family Sminthuridae

The Entognatha are a class of wingless and ametabolous arthropods, which, together with the insects, makes up the subphylum Hexapoda. [1] [2] Their mouthparts are entognathous, meaning that they are retracted within the head, unlike the insects. [1] Entognatha are apterous, meaning that they lack wings. The class contains three orders: Collembola (springtails), Diplura (“two-tail”) and Protura (“first-tail”), and over 5000 known species. [1] [2] These three groups were historically united with the now-obsolete order Thysanura to form the class Apterygota, but it has since been recognized that the hexapodous condition of these animals has evolved independently from that of insects, and independently within each order. [3] The orders may not be closely related, and Entognatha is now considered to be a polyphyletic group. [2]


These minute arthropods are apterous, unlike some orders of insects that have lost their wings secondarily (but are derived from winged ancestors). Their mouthparts are enclosed within a pouch in the head capsule, called the gnathal pouch, so only the tips of the mandibles and maxillae are exposed beyond the cavity. [1] This pouch is created in the embryo by a flap or lateral head sclerite near the mouth on each side of the head which fuses with the labium. [1] Other differences with insects are that each antennal segment is musculated; in insects, only the two basal segments are. Sperm transfer is always indirect, and there is an ovipositor in the females. Of the three orders, only collembolans possess eyes; [2] nevertheless, many collembolans are blind, and even when compound eyes are present, there are no more than eight ommatidia.

Related Research Articles

Diplura Order of two-pronged bristletails

The order Diplura is one of three orders within the class Entognatha. The name "diplura", or "two tails", refers to the characteristic pair of caudal appendages or filaments at the terminal end of the body.

Protura Order of arthropods

The Protura, or proturans, and sometimes nicknamed coneheads, are very small, soil-dwelling animals, so inconspicuous they were not noticed until the 20th century. The Protura constitute an order of hexapods that were previously regarded as insects, and sometimes treated as a class in their own right.

Arachnid Class of arthropods

Arachnida is a class of joint-legged invertebrate animals (arthropods), in the subphylum Chelicerata. Arachnida includes orders containing spiders, scorpions, ticks, mites, harvestmen, and solifuges. In 2019, a molecular phylogenetic study also placed horseshoe crabs in Arachnida.

Malacostraca Largest class of crustaceans

Malacostraca is the largest of the six classes of crustaceans, containing about 40,000 living species, divided among 16 orders. Its members, the malacostracans, display a great diversity of body forms and include crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill, woodlice, amphipods, mantis shrimp and many other, less familiar animals. They are abundant in all marine environments and have colonised freshwater and terrestrial habitats. They are segmented animals, united by a common body plan comprising 20 body segments, and divided into a head, thorax, and abdomen.

Zoraptera Order of insects

The insect order Zoraptera, commonly known as angel insects, contains a single family, the Zorotypidae, which in turn contains one extant genus Zorotypus with 44 extant species and 11 species known from fossils. They are small and soft bodied insects with two forms: winged with wings sheddable as in termites, dark and with eyes (compound) and ocelli (simple); or wingless, pale and without eyes or ocelli. They have a characteristic nine-segmented beaded (moniliform) antenna. They have mouthparts adapted for chewing and are mostly found under bark, in dry wood or in leaf litter.

Mecoptera Order of insects with markedly different larvae and adults

Mecoptera are an order of insects in the superorder Endopterygota with about six hundred species in nine families worldwide. Mecopterans are sometimes called scorpionflies after their largest family, Panorpidae, in which the males have enlarged genitals that look similar to the stingers of scorpions, and long beaklike rostra. The Bittacidae, or hangingflies, are another prominent family and are known for their elaborate mating rituals, in which females choose mates based on the quality of gift prey offered to them by the males. A smaller group is the snow scorpionflies, family Boreidae, adults of which are sometimes seen walking on snowfields. In contrast, the majority of species in the order inhabit moist environments in tropical locations.

Apterygota Subclass of insects

The name Apterygota is sometimes applied to a subclass of small, agile insects, distinguished from other insects by their lack of wings in the present and in their evolutionary history; notable examples are the silverfish, the firebrat, and the jumping bristletails. Their first known occurrence in the fossil record is during the Devonian period, 417–354 million years ago.

In biology, a tagma is a specialized grouping of multiple segments or metameres into a coherently functional morphological unit. Familiar examples are the head, the thorax, and the abdomen of insects. The segments within a tagma may be either fused or so jointed as to be independently moveable.

A hamus or hamulus is a structure functioning as, or in the form of, hooks or hooklets.

Glossary of entomology terms List of definitions of terms and concepts commonly used in the study of entomology

This glossary of entomology describes terms used in the formal study of insect species by entomologists.


The metasoma is the posterior part of the body, or tagma, of arthropods whose body is composed of three parts, the other two being the prosoma and the mesosoma. In insects, it contains most of the digestive tract, respiratory system, and circulatory system, and the apical segments are typically modified to form genitalia. In a few of the most primitive insects, the metasomal segments bear small, articulated appendages called "styli", which are often considered to be vestigial. There are also pre-apical appendages in most insect orders, called cerci, which may be multi-segmented and almost resembling a posterior pair of antennae; these may be variously modified, or lost entirely. Otherwise, most adult insects lack appendages on the metasoma, though many larval insects have some form of appendages, such as prolegs or, in aquatic insects, gills.

Empididae Family of flies

Empididae is a family of flies with over 3,000 described species occurring worldwide in all the biogeographic realms but the majority are found in the Holarctic. They are mainly predatory flies like most of their relatives in the Empidoidea, and exhibit a wide range of forms but are generally small to medium-sized, non-metallic and rather bristly.

Furcula (springtail)

The furcula, or furca It is a forked, tail-like appendage. It is present in most species of springtails, and in them it is attached ventrally to the fourth abdominal segment. The organ most often is present in species of Collembola that lives in the upper soil layers where it is used for jumping to avoid predators. While at rest, it is retracted under the abdomen and held there by a structure variously called the retinaculum or hamula, which in turn is located beneath the third abdominal segment. When the furcula escapes from retinaculum, it swings downwards and hits the substrate, propelling the springtail into the air. The animal does not use this mechanism for ordinary locomotion, but only for escaping from predators or severe stress.

<i>Anurida maritima</i> Species of springtail

Anurida maritima is a cosmopolitan collembolan of the intertidal zone. It is often found in aggregations of up to several hundred on the surface of rock-pools.

Poduromorpha Order of springtails

The order Poduromorpha is one of the three main groups of springtails (Collembola), tiny hexapods related to insects. This group was formerly treated as a superfamily Poduroidea.

Springtail Subclass of arthropods

Springtails (Collembola) form the largest of the three lineages of modern hexapods that are no longer considered insects. Although the three orders are sometimes grouped together in a class called Entognatha because they have internal mouthparts, they do not appear to be any more closely related to one another than they are to all insects, which have external mouthparts.

Insect morphology

Insect morphology is the study and description of the physical form of insects. The terminology used to describe insects is similar to that used for other arthropods due to their shared evolutionary history. Three physical features separate insects from other arthropods: they have a body divided into three regions, have three pairs of legs, and mouthparts located outside of the head capsule. It is this position of the mouthparts which divides them from their closest relatives, the non-insect hexapods, which includes Protura, Diplura, and Collembola.

<i>Orchesella cincta</i> Species of springtail

Orchesella cincta is a species of springtail present in North America and Europe. They average 4 millimetres (0.16 in) in length, which is extremely large as most springtails don’t grow past 1 millimetre. The specific name cincta means "belted" and refers to the distinctive colouration of the third abdominal segment.

<i>Allacma fusca</i> Species of springtail

Allacma fusca is a species of springtail. This species is endemic to western areas of Continental Europe and the British Isles, where it lives in the surface layers of the soil in moist habitats such as among leaf litter.

Hexapoda Subphylum of arthropods

The subphylum Hexapoda constitutes the most species of arthropods and includes the insects as well as three much smaller groups of wingless arthropods: Collembola, Protura, and Diplura. The Collembola are very abundant in terrestrial environments. Hexapods are named for their most distinctive feature: a consolidated thorax with three pairs of legs. Most other arthropods have more than three pairs of legs.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 David A. Grimaldi & Michael S. Engel (2005). "Arthropods and the origin of insects". Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press. pp. 93–118. ISBN   978-0-521-82149-0.
  2. 1 2 3 4 P. J. Gullan, Peter Cranston (2010). "Insect systematics: phylogeny and classification". The Insects: an Outline of Entomology (4th ed.). John Wiley and Sons. pp. 189–222. ISBN   978-1-4443-3036-6.
  3. Alessandro Minelli (2009). "A gallery of the major bilaterian clades". Perspectives in Animal Phylogeny and Evolution. Oxford University Press. pp. 71–109. ISBN   978-0-19-856620-5.