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Rafting in the Antarctic springtail, Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 April 2011

T.C. Hawes*
Department of Zoology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand


Capture by water surfaces is a frequent but stochastic phenomenon for Antarctic collembolans (springtails), with implications for both the survival and dispersal of populations. This paper provides the first field description of the characteristics of rafting aggregations of the springtail Gomphiocephalus hodgsoni and provides the first observation of the inclusion of the mite, Stereotydeus mollis, within these aggregations. Field observations of aggregations in meltwater pools are used to develop a picture of the ecological implications of rafting for Antarctic springtails. The potential for marine capture was also demonstrated by additional observations of two springtails aerially deposited on to sea ice as well as springtails floating in the tidewater cracks between the sea ice and land.

Biological Sciences
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2011

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