These springtails are elongate and slender; most of them are 1-2 mm long and pale white, but Tetrodontophora bielanensis can beg mm long. Members of this family occur in leaf litter or soil. They lack eyes and the furcula is almost always absent, but they have defense pores called pseudocelli which are small areas of thin cuticle through which defensive fluid can be extruded. Onychiurus has 42 described species, and most are northern in distribution.

Onychiurus armatus, o. fimetarius (Fig. 6.1d, e) Adults are about 2 mm long. The pronotum is well developed; the eyes are absent. The postantennal organ of O. armatus is simple and without branched vesicles; the postantennal organ of O. fimetarius is elaborate and has branching vesicles. These species are cosmopolitan and they are commonly found indoors, often associated with potted plants.

Onychiurus cocklei Adults are about 1.8 mm long and golden yellow. It occurs in large numbers on snow and the surface of pools in British Columbia and Alaska.

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