Glacier flea

The glacier flea (Desoria saltans) is a hexapod from the class of springtails. It is 1,5 to 2,5mm long, lives on Alpine glaciers where it occasionally occurs in great numbers. Its main food source is cryoconite. When disturbed, glacier fleas can escape by means of a dorsal appendix which lets them jump a considerable distance. This lead to their common name although they are not fleas, but Collembolans (springtails). Various sugars protect them fom freezing, even at temperatures between -10 to -15 C. Their preferred ambient temperature ist 0 C.

Glacier fleas on Vadret da Morteratsch, Swiss Alps. Photo J. Alean, October 8th, 2012.