This group of primitive wingless insects, about 2 mm in length (Figure 14.23) has a spring-like appendage at the base of the abdomen. They are very common in soils, and normally aid in the breakdown of soil organic matter. Two genera, Bourletiella and Collembola, however, may do serious damage to conifer seedlings and cucumber roots respectively.
Spread is slow since all stages are wingless. Mite pests
The mites (Acarina) are classified with spiders and scorpions in the Arachnida. Although similar to insects in many respects they are distinguished from them by the possession of four pairs of legs, a fused body structure and by the absence of wings (see Figure 14.24). Many of the tiny soil-inhabiting mites serve a useful purpose in breaking down plant debris. Several above-ground species are serious pests on plants. The life cycle is composed of egg, larva, nymph and adult stages.
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