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Springtails (Collembola) form the largest of the three lineages of modern hexapods that are no longer considered insects. The other two are the Protura and Diplura. The three orders are sometimes grouped together in a class called Entognatha because they have internal mouthparts, but they do not appear to be more closely related to one another than to insects, which have external mouthparts.
Collembolans are omnivorous, free-living organisms that prefer moist conditions. They do not directly engage in the decomposition of organic matter, but, rather, can indirectly through the fragmentation of organic matter and the control of soil microbial communities. The word “collembola” is from the Greek colle meaning glue and embolon meaning piston or peg.
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