Snow fleas?

Yes, that’s right. Snow fleas. December 12th was a warm, sunny day, and I was lucky enough to spend part of it outside. I noticed a mass of unusual black flecks on the snow, and when I knelt down to see what they were, I saw that they were jumping. Snow fleas!

Snow fleas

Snow fleas aren’t fleas at all, but a springtail. They use a tail like appendage to fling themselves through the air. Why are they out in the snow? They’re eating, of course. They contain an antifreeze like protein that allows them to function in freezing conditions. They aren’t active only in winter, either, they’re just harder to see when there isn’t snow on the ground.