- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
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...
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,...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Video: Why Don't Jumping Bugs Break Their Legs?
13 March 2013 6:00 pm
If your feet ache after a long day, just be glad you're not a green leafhopper (Cicadella viridis). When the small insect jumps between plants, it applies enough force to its spindly hind legs to snap them in half. Wondering how leafhoppers avoid these expected fractures during their powerful leaps, a team of scientists used a high-speed camera to film the bugs at the moment of takeoff. By analyzing the footage (above), the researchers discovered that leafhoppers rotate a part of their legs while gearing up for a jump, thereby distributing the stress more equally throughout the limb and creating a safe, constant force between their feet and the leaf launch pad. This precision movement allows the insects to accelerate at a near constant rate of 152 meters per second squared while keeping their fragile limbs intact, the team reports online today in The Journal of Experimental Biology. Next up? Using the clever mechanics of the leafhopper leg to build better jumping robots.
See more videos.
*Correction, 15 March: The green leafhopper accelerated at a near constant rate of 152 meters per second squared, not 152 meters per second as originally reported.