Key to Order & Superfamily of Australian Collembola

This key covers all 14 families of Collembola known from Australia.  Few Collembola are truly aquatic and some families such as Cyphoderidae (ant inquilines) and Oncopoduridae (cave and soil species) would rarely be met in aquatic samples.  But members of almost any family may occur in aquatic samples.

Identification of Collembola to superfamily is relatively easy.  The fat, pudgy ones are Poduroidea (families Neanuridae, Odontellidae, Brachystomellidae, Hypogastruridae, Onychiuridae).  The globose ones are Sminthuroidea (Sminthuridae, Dicyrtomidae) or, if under 0.5mm, eyeless, and white, yellow or grey, Neelidoidea (Neelidae).  The remainder, which are elongate and (i) with short appendages but having the body not strongly rounded or (ii) with long antennae, legs and furca, are Entomobryoidea (Isotomidae, Entomobryidae, Paronellidae, Cyphoderidae, Oncopoduridae, Tomoceridae).

Identification below superfamily level can be difficult and it seems some families of Entomobryoidea are poorly defined.  Some atypical members of some families may key to a related family or to no family.  In cases of doubt, keyed specimens should be checked against the text description in the taxon information box.