Biodiversity & Conservation

A springtail - Anurida maritima

Anurida maritima

Image Marco Faasse - Anurida maritima on water surface. Image width ca 2 cm.
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Distribution map

Anurida maritima recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

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Anurida maritima is not listed under any importance categories.

Taxonomy icon Taxonomy Taxon English term
Phylum Arthropoda Arthropods, joint-legged animals, e.g. insects, crustaceans & spiders
Class Insecta Insects
Authority Guérin, 1836
Recent synonyms Lipura maritima
Map icon Recorded Distribution in Britain and Ireland This species can be found about the coasts of Britain and Ireland, but has not been recorded on the north east Scottish and south east Irish coasts. However, it may be under recorded.
Habitat information icon Habitat information Anurida maritima is abundant and primarily limited to the upper intertidal zone. It can be found in large clusters of 20-100's wandering over rocks in search of food or floating on the surface film of upper shore rock pools (only when the water is still). This species retreats into rocky crevices, or shelters under weeds during high tide: retreating one hour before the tide begins to rise.
Text page icon Description Anurida maritima is a small wingless insect up to 3 mm in length. It has a cylindrical body covered with short hairs. It is a blackish-blue to slate blue in colour. The head possesses a small pair of black eyes and a single pair of short antennae. The abdomen has six segments and is plump and broad towards hind end. The thorax has a pair of legs on each of its three segments.
Identifying features
  • Segmented body with 6 legs and no wings.
  • Cylindrical body covered in short hairs.
  • Up to 3 mm in length.
  • Blackish-blue to slate-blue in colour.
  • Small black eyes on head.
Additional information icon Additional information This species is hydrophobic, the whitish coating of small hairs on the body acting as a waterproof layer. The trapped air is used for respiration. This enables Anurida maritima to withstand submersion for 2 days (and in vivo up to 5 days).

Anurida maritima feeds on dead marine animals, primarily molluscs and crustaceans. It may also feed on the inside of dead barnacles, and occasionally vegetable matter.

Females lay eggs in sites with available free water. Eggs increase in size by water uptake, increasing their resistance to mechanical disturbances and dry conditions. The eggs are pale yellow when freshly layed, turning dark orange as the developmental process proceeds. They can be found in crevices (over wintering from August to April), which provide protection from wave action. Unlike the majority of springtails (Collembola), Anurida maritima does not leap due to the atrophy of its springing organ, therefore only performing a moderate crawling motion.

This review can be cited as follows:

Sonia Rowley 2007. Anurida maritima. A springtail. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 01/12/2015]. Available from: <>