Video: Meet 'Leaproach,' the Jumping Cockroach

Credit: Malcolm Burrows

Cockroaches don't get much respect, but that may change with the discovery of a newly discovered South African roach species that looks and leaps like a grasshopper. Nicknamed "leaproach" by its discoverers, Saltoblattella montistabularis is the first known roach that doesn't just scuttle but also jumps, researchers report online today in Biology Letters. Super long and muscular hind legs help leaproach cover as much as 35 cm—nearly 50 times its body length—in one bound. That means it out-hops locusts, which travel only 20 times their body length. The new species also sports bulging rounded eyes, unique among roaches, which probably help it land in the right spot after a leap. So far, leaproach has been found only in a small patch of grassland in Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town. Researchers think it may have turned to leaping as the easiest way to navigate a habitat of long grass stems.

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