Isotomidae - Folsomia candida
Size: 1.5 mm
Group Guild Status
Eutroglophile Fungivore Uncommon
This parthenogenetic (reproduction by the female without sexual reproduction involving the male) springtail is pan-global in distribution, having been transported around the earth by humans, primarily contained in soils associated with plants. The species is common in the soil horizon, often being the dominant springtail in such associations, but is also regularly found in caves and mines. The original species description (1902) was of a single animal taken from the surface of a pool in a cave in Belgium. This species contains toxins that may make it unsuitable prey for some arthropod predators. Like most collembola, F. candida feeds on fungal hyphae, but is reported to take nematodes in the laboratory. Since it is easily bred, the species has commonly been used as a lab animal in environmental toxicity studies (Fountain and Hopkin 2005). F. candida is white and blind, but because it occurs commonly in non-cave habitats we consider it a troglophile in the cave. We sampled only a single individual of this species, from an invertebrate station at the far west end of the Big Room adjacent to Millipede Meadows. We suspect the species is likely more common in the cave than our one specimen would indicate. F. candida was not recorded in the initial study, and we believe it is likely to have been introduced to the cave during the commercial development.
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