Collembolan Invaders in the U.S.?

GSBI: A Wave of Alien Invaders Marches Unseen, Northwards Across Britain

I was reading the above blog post about invasive Collembola in the UK, and pondering the difference between science in Europe and science in the U.S. Europe seems so much more dedicated to studying soil biology than we are here (not to say it doesn’t happen in the U.S., but it does seem so much more “monetary value” focused here than focused on the inherent importance of soil biodiversity). I was wondering about whether or not we even track Collembola diversity well enough in the U.S. to know if we have invasive species…? I want to look more into the body of Collembola knowledge in the Americas, someday. I’ll have to settle with looking at them from a prey subsidy perspective for the time being (more on this later).

That speck of dirt is a Collembola.
That speck of dirt is a Collembola, from Mexico.


4 responses to “Collembolan Invaders in the U.S.?”

  1. It’s true. There is not enough known about current springtail species distributions, let alone the actual species diversity in the the US! Here in Illinois (UIUC) almost every time we collect we find unreported species. Furthermore, we find new species during out-of-state collection trips. We have collected many introduced species (originally from Europe & Asia) that seem to have been increasing in abundance since the 90’s and are likely outcompeting some native/endemic species that have been becoming rarer in collections over time.


  2. Thanks for the comment, Aron! I just came across your MS thesis; do you work with Collembola currently? I only count them and use their numbers to potentially inform what generalist predators might be eating in our agricultural plots, but I don’t look at their diversity across different treatments. I’ve wanted to get more into this issue, though, since I know that spiders (for example, Agusti et al. 2003) do show preferences for specific Collembola species, I wonder how that might change with different tillage regimes or levels of residue from the previous years’ crop. I suppose, as researchers, we all have our grand ideas, though! I’d love to hear more about your Collembola work!


    • Hi Ariel! Yes, I’m currently working with springtails at the University of Illinois with Felipe Soto-Adames. My research focuses on Entomobryidae systematics, species delimitation and evolutionary processes that govern speciation in Collembola. Let me know if you ever want to discuss springtail research! I’m also very interested in Collembola as bioindicators and general springtail ecology (since we know so little). Feel free to shoot me an e-mail anytime!


      • Awesome, Aron! Thanks! Your work sounds super interesting. I’ll keep my eye out for you future papers on Collembola as bioindicators. Best of luck!


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