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Worldwide ca. 6500 collembolan species are listed, belonging to 18 families (Hopkin 1997). For Europe, there are estimated to be ca. 1500 species, belonging to 16 families (taxonomic work is still progressing).
Collembola are the most abundant terrestrial arthropods, colonising all soil habitats that provide enough humidity and food, such as organic matter or microorganisms. Example habitats include root rosettes of high alpine plants, plant debris on the shore, natural soils, as well as microhabitats such as flower pots. Most species are soil or litter dwellers, whilst only few species live on the surface or in the vegetation (mainly Entomobryidae and Symphypleona). In mature soil, abundances may attain values of 50–100,000 individuals/m2. Local gradations in abundance are a well known phenomenon in many Collembola.