Class Diplura in the Christopher B. Smith Preserve

Dipluran Characteristics: The name, "Dipluran" is derived from the Greek words "diplo" meaning two and "ura" meaning tails. Diplurans have cerci at the rear of the abdomen. These hexapods (6-legged arthropods) are considered to be one of the most primitive of the hexapods because they lack eyes, scales, and a visible mouth.

Diplurans have long, beaded antennae that are longer than their head, and small eversible vesicles on the ventral side of most of their 10 visible abdominal segments that help regulate water balance. Sexes are separate and fertilization is external. Dipluran nymphs are small versions of the adults.

Diplurans are found in leaf litter and moist soil, under stones, fallen trees, and in caves. Because of their small size, they are rarely seen.

There are 5 families in North America and 7 worldwide, and 64 species in North America and ~800 worldwide.

Interactions in the Smith Preserve: Since most diplurans are predators, their diet includes other soil-dwelling arthropods (collembola, mites, symphyla, insect larvae and other diplurans). Because they are inhabitants of leaf litter, they are part of the community of decomposers that break down and recycle organic nutrients.

Species Name
Common Name

Family Japygidae

Unknown Species ... Dipluran

On December 29, 2014, this 2 mm long dipluran was found in pine needle litter beneath a Pinus elliottii densa (Southern Florida Pine) tree. It was extracted from the litter with a Berlese Funnel. These photographs were created using photomicroscopy. In the first image, the long white object is a piece of thread used to steady the specimen in the alcohol.

In Family Japygidae, cerci are developed into strong pincers. Note the orange chitinized pincers evident in both of these photographs. Also, note the long beaded antennae, common to all diplurans. There are 28 species in Family Japygidae in North American.

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© Photographs and text by Susan Leach Snyder (Conservancy of Southwest Florida Volunteer), unless otherwise credited above.

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