Dream all animals including insects

Soil animals: insects

When you think of animals in the ground, the first thing that comes to mind are moles, earthworms and perhaps the primitive woodlice. But the soil is also home to a variety of insects: ants and springtails, for example. There are also numerous larvae and beetles in the soil.


There are more than 6,000 species of it worldwide. Around 2,000 species are found in Central Europe. Springtails or Collembola have conquered numerous habitats. They are flightless insects and belong to the tribe of the arthropods. The animals, which can grow up to six millimeters long, can be found even above the snow line in the high mountains, as well as in the peripheral areas of the polar regions, where they feed on algae and pollen.

However, the majority of springtail species live in the upper layers of the soil. There they are sometimes found in enormous quantities. Because of their large number, springtails, despite their small size, play a decisive role in the conversion and decomposition processes in the soil. They eat bacteria, fungi, dead organic matter and the excrement of larger soil animals. As a result, they regulate and stimulate the growth of microorganisms on the one hand and promote humification and soil fertility on the other.


These hardworking workers have many advantages for the soil: They cut up dead animals and feed the soil back into nutrients, they loosen the soil through their passages and mix it with organic materials. Because the animals build a wide system of tubes and caves in the ground. Anthills are visible from afar. But the hill is only the aboveground part of the dwelling. Most of it is well protected underground. Where a large number of ant colonies exist in a confined space, some of the anthills are even networked underground.


Beetles are the most species-rich insect order. Like springtails, they belong to the tribe of the arthropods (Arthropoda). There are beetles that live in the ground and some that live on it. The native beetle species live mainly on the surface of the ground, but can penetrate more or less deeply into the ground when digging. Because many species of beetles have a larval stage in the soil. Therefore, beetles are involved in various relocation, enrichment and decomposition processes in the soil.

For example, the grubs, the larvae of the cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha). The cockchafer larvae, which can be up to five centimeters in size, develop completely in the soil over a period of about four years and feed on plant roots. In the autumn of the last year of the larval stage, the grubs transform into young beetles. They overwinter up to a meter deep in the ground and then usually hatch at the end of April.

The beetle species that live permanently in the soil are less significant with regard to their effects on the soil than the beetle species that live on the soil surface or only colonize the soil in the larval stage. These beetles are usually smaller than five millimeters. They include, for example, the dwarf beetles (Pselaphidae). These moisture-loving beetles inhabit the litter layer of the soil and feed primarily on mites.