Wednesday 9 January 2013


Image: David R. Maddison
"Protura" comes from the Greek for "first tail". Proturans get that name because they... don't have a tail at all. Right.

That's not all they don't have; eyes, wings, even antennae are all lacking in these minute hexapods. I found the lack of antennae particularly surprising. So did they, apparently...

Image: Wikimedia
Antennae are so amazing and great that Proturans simply refuse to go without them. They use a pair of sensory legs instead! Walking around in moist soil and leaf litter, their first pair of legs are constantly held up as if they're pretending to be a ghost or Dracula or something.

They could almost be pretty good as a vampire. A tiny one, since they're all less than 2 mm (0.08 in) long.
They would be so scary if they were 1,000 times bigger!
Like the other non-insect hexapods, the Spingtails and Diplurans, Proturans have their mouthparts enclosed within their head. In this case they're long and thin, and are thought to pierce fungus and decaying vegetable matter to suck out the innards. So it's a vegetarian vampire. Tomato juice?

Image: Wikimedia
A lot is unknown about Proturans, though one cool thing is that they're unique among hexapods in that their young look just like the parents only with less abdominal segments. A new segment is added each time they moult until they have the adult number. This is what centipedes do!

Most Proturans live within the top 10 cm (4 in) of soil, although some have been found as deep as 25 cm (10 in). There are even some who go through seasonal migrations! Every year, they escape the cold weather by undertaking epic journeys of several inches down into the soil's depths. Basically, they fly south for the winter!

It's a whole other world...


TexWisGirl said...

funky little critters.

Joseph JG said...

Sure are!

Magia da Inês said...


Um lindo dia para você!

.¸¸.✿✿╮✿彡 °

Joseph JG said...

Thank you! Same to you!