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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: How an Aphid Is Like a Cat
4 February 2013 12:10 pm
Cats always land on their feet, the old saying goes, but felines have nothing on the pea aphid. A new study shows that the tiny crop pest, Acyrthosiphon pisum, is a champion at landing right-side up after a fall, speedily rotating into a feet-down position after falling for 0.2 seconds or less. Researchers shot high-speed video of the insects as they plummeted off a plant to escape predatory ladybirds and as they were dropped from tweezers. In today's issue of Current Biology, the team reports that falling aphids all shifted their antennae slightly forward and up and moved their hind legs slightly backward and up. Modeling showed that the air resistance against the creatures' splayed appendages flipped them belly-down for a safe landing, allowing the aphids to scuttle away.
See more ScienceShots.