Class: Entognatha Order: Diplura

Number of families: 9 families


Diplurans have three distinct body regions (head; thorax, or midsection; and abdomen), no wings, and six legs, but they are not considered true insects. Diplurans form a group closely related to insects that includes proturans (order Pro-tura) and springtails (order Collembola). All of these animals have chewing mouthparts inside a special pocket in their head.

Diplurans are long, slender, and cylindrical or slightly flattened animals that are 0.12 to 1.97 inches (3 to 50 millimeters) in length. They are usually white or pale yellow and are often slightly transparent, or see-through. Their bodies are covered with hairlike structures. Diplurans have no eyes, but their antennae (an-TEH-nee), or feelers, are bristling with sensory hairs. The abdomen has ten segments and is tipped with a pair of threadlike or pincherlike appendages, or limblike structures. Most of the segments have pairs of small leglike structures underneath that are used to support the long abdomen.


Diplurans are widely distributed throughout the world.


Diplurans live in the soil and are found in moist habitats under rocks, logs, leaf litter, and tree bark. Some species live in caves.

phylum class subclass • order monotypic order suborder family


Although no diplurans are recognized to be in danger of extinction, it is still possible that some species have had their populations reduced or eliminated altogether. Scientists know so little about these animals that the destruction of their habitats would wipe them out forever and we would never know it. However, some species appear to be able to deal with habitat destruction. For example, several species are known to live and reproduce successfully within the city limits of Vienna, Austria.

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