Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Perfectly Proportioned Legs Keep Water Striders Striding

Date:
August 7, 2008
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The amazing water strider -- known for its ability to walk on water -- came within just a hair of sinking into evolutionary oblivion. Scientists are reporting that the insect's long, flexible legs have an optimal length that keeps it afloat.

The amazing water strider — known for its ability to walk on water — came within just a hair of sinking into evolutionary oblivion. Scientists in France and the United Kingdom are reporting that the insect's long, flexible legs have an optimal length that keeps it afloat.

In the new study, Dominic Vella notes that scientists already know much about the water-repellant structure of the water strider's legs and how it allows them to efficiently scoot and jump on ponds and lakes. However, the insect's many adaptations to life on water surfaces pose scientific puzzles. Solving those mysteries may have practical applications in the design of water-walking robots that can support the maximum possible payload, they note.

Building on earlier work by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, Vella developed a mathematical model to determine the maximum weight load that a thin, flexible cylinder — representing a water strider's legs — can support on a liquid surface without sinking. He found that as the length of the cylinder increases, the maximum load at first increases but then reaches a plateau at some critical length.

After that length, the cylinder begins to bend and is not able to support more weight. Comparing the model to measurements on museum specimens, Vella found that the strider's legs are typically slightly shorter than the critical length. This suggests that the water strider's legs are just the right length: Long enough to provide maximum weight support but not long enough to bend and hinder the insect's movement, he says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vella et al. Floating Objects with Finite Resistance to Bending. Langmuir, 2008; 0 (0): 0 DOI: 10.1021/la800245k

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Perfectly Proportioned Legs Keep Water Striders Striding." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080804121631.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2008, August 7). Perfectly Proportioned Legs Keep Water Striders Striding. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080804121631.htm
American Chemical Society. "Perfectly Proportioned Legs Keep Water Striders Striding." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080804121631.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins