information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A springtail (Anurida maritima)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.
Only coastal and marine records shown



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.

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.

Global distribution



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.

Depth range


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

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.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Bruce, J.R., Colman, J.S. & Jones, N.S., 1963. Marine fauna of the Isle of Man. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

  2. Cheng, L. (ed.), 1976. Marine insects. Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company.

  3. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. & Rogers, A., 2001. Photographic guide to the sea and seashore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  4. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  5. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  6. Hopkin, S., 2004. Anurida maritima: Distribution maps, 2005-01-12

  7. Imms, A.D., 1906. Anurida (A Springtail). Williams & Norgate.

  8. MBA (Marine Biological Association), 1957. Plymouth Marine Fauna. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

  9. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017


This review can be cited as:

Rowley, S.J. 2007. Anurida maritima A springtail. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 19-09-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 08/08/2007