This minireview provides a synopsis of past and present research on the biology and ecology of members of the bacterial genus Collimonas. From the distribution, abundance and functional behaviours of these so-called collimonads emerges a general picture of bacterial adaptation to low-nutrient soil environments. Among these adaptations is the ability to extract nutrients from living fungi (mycophagy) and from rocks and minerals (weathering). This unique combination of properties will be discussed in the context of other interactions that collimonads have with their biotic and abiotic surroundings, such as the ability to inhibit fungal growth (fungistasis), protect plant roots from fungal disease (biocontrol), and degrade natural polymers and synthetic pollutants (biodegradation). Future research on Collimonas is expected to take advantage of the genomic tools and resources that are becoming available to uncover and describe the genes and gene functions that distinguish this group of bacteria and are the basis for its phenotypes. Potential applications of collimonads include the control of unwanted fungi, for example in agriculture, their use as biological indicators of soil quality and fertility, and as a source of bioactive compounds.