Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Like An Arrow: Jumping Insects Use Archery Techniques

Date:
September 30, 2008
Source:
BMC Biology
Summary:
Froghoppers, also known as spittlebugs, are the champion insect jumpers, capable of reaching heights of 700mm -- more than 100 times their own body length. New research reveals that they achieve their prowess by flexing bow-like structures between their hind legs and wings and releasing the energy in one giant leap in a catapult-like action.

An adult froghopper.
Credit: Burrows et al, BMC Biology 2008

Froghoppers, also known as spittlebugs, are the champion insect jumpers, capable of reaching heights of 700 mm - more than 100 times their own body length. New research reveals that they achieve their prowess by flexing bow-like structures between their hind legs and wings and releasing the energy in one giant leap in a catapult-like action.

Froghoppers are well distributed around the world. Images of the insects flexing and jumping are described in the research carried out by Malcolm Burrows from the University of Cambridge and his colleagues. Burrows' research focused on determining how the energy generated by the insects' muscles is stored before powering a jump.

He said, "A froghopper stores energy by bending a paired bow-shaped part of its internal skeleton called a 'pleural arch' which is a composite structure made of layers of hard cuticle and a rubbery protein called resilin. When the froghopper contracts its muscles to jump, these arches flex like a composite archery bow, and then on recoil catapult it forwards with a force that can be over 400 times its body mass".

There are further parallels with the jumping mechanisms of froghoppers and the design of composite bows used in archery. The composite of a hard and an elastic material means that the skeleton of a froghopper, or an archery bow, can resist damage even if they are bent for a long time. Froghoppers are observed to hold the pleural arch in a bent 'ready position', ready to jump at a moment's notice, and to be able to jump repeatedly without damaging the body.

Still more advantages of using composite structures when storing large amounts of energy are seen when considering the development of these storage structures. Froghopper nymphs live in a protective white foam, the familiar cuckoo spit that appears on plants in spring. These nymphs have no resilin in their pleural arches and don't jump until they complete the lifecycle and develop into adult Froghoppers.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Malcolm Burrows, Steve R. Shaw and Gregory P. Sutton. Resilin and cuticle form a composite structure for energy storage in jumping by froghopper insects. BMC Biology, (in press)

Cite This Page:

BMC Biology. "Like An Arrow: Jumping Insects Use Archery Techniques." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929212928.htm>.
BMC Biology. (2008, September 30). Like An Arrow: Jumping Insects Use Archery Techniques. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929212928.htm
BMC Biology. "Like An Arrow: Jumping Insects Use Archery Techniques." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929212928.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
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