Biology

Relatively few studies have been done on the Diplura, and thus we know very little about their habits. However, the studies that have been published have recorded the basic biological characteristics of the group. The males deposit sperm bundles in the soil and females pick up these sperm bundles and become fertilized. Eggs may be deposited randomly and in clusters. Some japygids suspend eggs at the end of a filimentous stalk. The prelarvae hatch in 7 to 16 days depending on the species. The prelarva does not feed and moves very little. The prelarva molts in about 2 days. The newly molted immature is fully mobile and feeds readily on whatever food source is available. After the second molt the immature form possesses the major setae and other anatomical characters used for identification. During the fourth or fifth molt the individual becomes sexually mature as evidenced by the appearance of the sex organs along the posterior margin of sternum VIII. Diplura continue to molt throughout their lives, adding clothing setae on the various sclerites and regenerating damaged body appendages.

Both major groups of Diplura appear to be omnivores. Many species are predators as well as scavengers. Foods that have been recorded include other Diplura, mites, Collembola, Symphyla, Isopoda, fly and beetle larvae, small arthropods of any class, enchytraeid worms, fungal spores, and mycelia. Some species have been observed feeding on the roots of living plants, including peanuts, sugarcane, and melons.

See Also the Following Articles

Arthropoda and Related Groups • Protura

Further Reading

Allen, R. T. (1995). Key to the species of Campodea (Campodea) from eastern North America and description of a new species from Virginia (Diplura: Campodeidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 88, 255—262. Ferguson, L. M. (1990). Insecta: Diplura. In "Soil Biology Guide" (D. L.

Dindall, ed.), pp. 951-963. Wiley, New York. Kristensen, N. P. (1991). Phylogeny of extant hexapods. In "The Insects of Australia" (CSIRO, ed.), 2nd ed., Vol. I, pp. 125-140. Melbourne University Press, Carlton. Paclt, J. (1957). Diplura. In "Genera Insectorum" (P. Wytsman, ed.), pp. 1-123. Crainhem, Belgium.

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