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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Entognatha
Order: Protura
Silvestri, 1907

Proturans (Order Protura) are an order of hexapods which are so small they can only be identified with a microscope and remained undiscovered until 1907. They have no sensory organs, hence the name of the order, which means "simple tail."


Proturans are small and unpigmented, measuring 0.6-1.5 mm in length. They have a conical head with no eyes or antennae, and lack wings and cerci. They hold their fore-legs in front of them, resembling antennae. The abdomen of the adult has 12 segments, more than any other insect. Each of the 3 basal segments has a pair of short styli (finger-like organs). Their mouthparts are used for sucking.

Life Cycle

Proturans undergo simple metamorphosis. Nymphs of this order are very similar to the adult, with fewer abdominal segments. A new abdominal segment is added at each molt.


Proturans are mostly found in moist soil, in rotting wood, under bark, in moss and leaf mold. They eat decaying organic matter.


Proturans, along with Diplurans and bristletails, were once thought to be insects.

Number of species

There are 20 species found in North America, and there are 118 worldwide.


There are two suborders in this order.