Soil living Protura

Soil living Protura


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Pikkelykefélék (Lepismatidae)
Pikkelykefélék (Lepismatidae)
Lepismatidae (Lepismatidae)


  • 8 families, about 500 species
  • minute, generally whitish or pale in color
  • cone-shaped head
  • lack eyes, ocelli, tentorium, and antennae
  • front legs covered with sensory hairs, act as antennae
  • have anamorphic development;
  • add segments to abdomen at first three molts (1)

Proturans live chiefly in soil, moss and leaf litter of moist temperate forests which are not too acidic, but have also been found beneath rocks or under the bark of trees,as well as in animal burrows.They are generally restricted to the uppermost 10 centimetres but have been found as deep as 25 cm.

The diet of proturans is uncertain, but they feed on mycorrhizal fungi, dead Acari, and mushroom powder in culture, and are thought to feed on decaying vegetable matter and fungi in the wild. The styliform mouthparts suggest that Protura are fluid feeders and there is evidence that some species suck out the contents of fungal hyphae.

Proturans which live near the soil surface generally have one generation per year and have longer legs while those that live deeper have shorter legs and reproduce less seasonally, although there are also migratory species which move to deeper layers for the winter and shallower layers for the summer (2)