Who are the tails?
These insects are also called thymus tails or collembolans. Some species in the lower abdomen have a special jumping fork (hence the name for the fork). Nail tails feed mainly on decayed plant debris and microorganisms. However, sometimes they also encroach on the delicate parts of plants.
Description of the Tail
Collembolans, or footstails are extremely widespread, especially in temperate latitudes, there are many of them in the tropics, they are found in the Arctic and Antarctic - wherever there are at least mosses and lichens.
Collembolas, or nails (Collembola) Is a subclass of arthropods, in the modern classification it is classified as secretive. Currently, scientists have described more than 8 thousand types of collembolas.
These insects live most often among decaying plant debris and in the surface soil layer, but many live deep in the soil, often penetrating deeper than other animals. Among the collembolas there are those that live on the surface of plants, and there are even films of water that have passed to life on the surface.
The number of springtails is also very large. For example, in the soils of forests and meadows, there are often tens of thousands of collembolas per square meter. Collembolans are very diverse both in body shape and color: as a rule, species living in the soil and not leaving it, white, springtails living on the surface of green plants are greenish, but among those living in forest litter or in the felt are dead grass plants , along with grayish and brown, often brightly colored or metallic shiny species.
Those nails that live on the surface of the soil can move very peculiarly. As already noted, on the lower surface of the posterior end of the abdomen there is a special organ not found in other arthropods - the so-called “jumping fork”. In a calm state, it is bent under the abdomen. Quickly straightening this “plug”, the collembol pushes off the object on which it sits and makes a sharp jump.
The nails that are kept on the surface of the water (there are some) can bounce, pushing off even from the surface film of water - their body is not wetted by water.
White nails who always live in the earth and do not appear on the surface, do not have a "jumping fork"; they can only crawl with the help of short chest legs, often even invisible when viewed from above. A series of springtails harm plants like green smintour, or sometimes in bulk eating greenhouse roots of juicy roots onihiurs. Some species are likely to harm indirectly by spreading spores of fungi that cause plant diseases.
Do I have to fight with tails?
On the whole, springtails are not only harmless, but even useful: they contribute to the decomposition, transformation into humus and mineralization of plant debris and, according to modern data, play a very important role in soil formation.
So do not rush to breed the tails with the fury of a tiger, as the chemical preparation may be more harmful for your pet than the tails themselves.
How to learn collembola?
The size of springtails varies from 0.2 mm to 10 mm (very few species). Collembolans prefer a secretive lifestyle in places with high humidity. They live in the soil, under the bark of dead trees, in leaf litter, in cracked stones. The nails are fed with fungal mycelium, bacterial plaque, algae, mosses, lichens. Only a few species can eat higher plants. Unfortunately, it is with them that flower growers come across.
The definition of these representatives of the animal world is quite difficult. There are many views on the systematics of collembolas, as a result of which many synonyms are mentioned in the literature.
The small size and secretive lifestyle of the tails makes it difficult to study them. The lack of an accessible and complete definitive literature on these groups of insects makes it almost impossible for laytails to be defined by lay people.
Fortunately, the biology of soil nailstail is quite similar and their exact determination is not required. It is enough to know that these are nails and do not confuse them with other insects (thrips, root worm) and ticks. To develop adequate control measures, if necessary.
Nail tails got their name thanks to a special hopping organ (hopping fork) located on the underside of the abdomen. The fork is held by a special hook in the cocked state. If necessary, the fork is released and, hitting the ground, throws the collembole forward and up.
Some types of collembolas have an elongated, fusiform body shape. They are traditionally called fools. The other part is distinguished by a rounded abdomen and a spherical body, they are usually called smintura. In the strict sense, this is not entirely correct. Sintures are only part of the nails that have a given, spherical shape of the body.
Collembole larvae completely repeat the body shape of adult individuals, differing from them only in size and maturity.
The color of the colembol (podur and smintur) is very diverse. Most species are whitish, gray, yellowish, or brownish in color, sometimes with a metallic sheen. Representatives of some genera may have a marble pattern, less often - one or more transverse stripes. Some cmintures may have a clear bitmap.
When growing indoor plants, podura are most often white, grayish in color, sometimes with a greenish, or silver-metallic luster.
Single damage caused by a few fools can not cause much damage to the plant. Large poduras (1-1.5 mm) can cause real and substantial damage only to seedlings. Seedlings at the stage of opening of the cotyledon leaves are eaten completely by the collembolas.
The harm from fools is also significant in cases where there are too many of them, and the temperature in the room is low. Plants weakened by adverse conditions slow down their growth and development and cannot regenerate normally. Multiple injuries caused by fools under such conditions become an open gate for a wide variety of fungal and bacterial infections that can not only weaken, but also destroy part of the plants in your collection.
How to deal with nails
In volumes with adult plants, there are almost always gadgets and there is no need to conduct a directed struggle against them under normal agricultural technology. The main measure to combat outbreaks of the number of podur can only be compliance with the conditions of proper agricultural techniques for growing plants.
The substrate should not contain a large number of actively decomposing components (unripe leaves, tea leaves, decorative sawdust). Volumes should have good drainage, preventing stagnation of moisture in the soil. Watering is moderate, as the soil dries. The volume of the pot should match the size of the root system. Fungi, bacteria, algae will take the place not taken up in the near future by the roots of plants, the soil will turn sour, the fools will divorce.
The number of podur remarkably inhibits a number of predatory mites, which are also almost always present in the ground.
If there are too many springtails, change the soil to a new one. If the story repeats, then review the soil composition and watering regime.
In cases where you need to take urgent measures to reduce the number of podura, you can apply systemic insecticides (Mospilan, Aktara, etc.). It is possible to restrain and somewhat limit the number of podur by adding citramon or ascofen (half a tablet to 2-3 liters of water) in water for irrigation.
When sowing seeds of senpolia and streptocarpus, the soil must be carefully steamed. The container in which the seeds are sown must be airtight and not have drainage holes accessible to the pest. It is especially important to comply with these requirements when there are few seeds, or the germination capacity of the seeds of this hybrid is very small.