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Proturan specimen (Acerentomon sp.)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Entognatha


The Entognatha is a class of ametabolous arthropods, which, together with insects, makes up the hexapods. Their mouthparts are entognathous, meaning they are retracted within the head. Entognatha are apterous, meaning they lack wings. The class contains three orders: Collembola (springtails), Diplura and Protura. These three groups were historically united with the order Thysanura to form the class Apterygota, but it has since been recognized that the hexapodous condition of these animals has evolved independently from that of insects, and independently within each order. The orders are not closely related, and so Entognatha is considered a polyphyletic group.


These minute arthropods are apterous or wingless, unlike some other orders of insects that have lost their wings secondarily (but are derived from winged ancestors). Their mouthparts are enclosed within a pouch in the head capsule, so that only the tips of the mandibles and maxillae are exposed beyond the cavity. This pouch is created in the embryo by a flap or lateral head sclerite near the mouth on each side of the head which fuses with the labium. Other differences with insects are that each antennal segment is musculated; in insects, only the two basal segments are. Sperm transfer is always indirect, and there is an ovipositor in the females. Of the three orders, only collembolans possess eyes; nevertheless, many collembolans are blind, and even when compound eyes are present, there are no more than eight ommatidia.

  • Collembola have a ventral tube termed a collophore on the first abdominal segment. The collophore is involved in moisture absorption. On the third abdominal segment is the retinaculum that holds the furcula. The furcula is the "spring" for which the Collembola are given the name springtails.
  • Proturans, sometimes referred to as "coneheads", do not have eyes or antennae. They possess abdominal styli that are thought to be vestigial legs.
  • The Diplura have a pair of caudal cerci, from which their name, meaning "two-tailed", is derived.

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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Isotoma nivalis


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Entognatha
Ordines: Collembola - Diplura - Protura




  • Brusca, Richard C., and Gary J. Brusca 2002: Invertebrates, Second Edition. 936pp. Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, USA.
  • Averof M., Akam M. 1995: Insect-crustacean relationships: insights from comparative developmental and molecular studies. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B, 347: 293-303.
  • Cameron S.L., Miller K.B., D'Haese C.A., Whiting M.F., Barker S.C. 2004: Mitochondrial genome data alone are not enough to unambiguously resolve the relationships of Entognatha, Insecta and Crustacea sensu lato (Arthropoda). Cladistics, 20: 534-557.

Vernaculer names

Česky: Skrytočelistní
Deutsch: Sackkiefler
Ελληνικά: Ενδόγναθα
Latviešu: Segžokleņi
Magyar: Belső szájszervűek
Македонски: Внатревилични шестоноги
日本語: 内顎綱
‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Gjemtkjevinger
Русский: Скрыточелюстные
中文: 內口綱
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Entognatha on Wikimedia Commons.


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