A new study by researchers in Italy and Ireland found traces of contamination inside the gut of the "Cryptopygus antarcticus," a small invertebrate that lives in the soil of the Antarctic.
The tiny creature is also known as a springtail and it is less than 1 millimeter in length, according to the scientists.
In a statement ahead of the release of their study, the researchers said their findings constituted the "first field-based evidence of contamination by microplastics in Antarctic terrestrial animals."
They made their discovery after testing 18 animals which had been found on a large piece on polystyrene foam in 2016 on the shore of King George Island, situated north of the Antarctic continent.
Elisa Bergami, a researcher at the University of Siena who led the project, told CNN that she saw the plastic material while she was on a field trip in the "relatively highly polluted area."
Explaining her decision to bring it to Italy for testing, Bergami said: "I was anxious about plastic debris stranded along the coast because we wanted to understand the pathways of plastic in this remote environment."