Jumping Larvae

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Gall midge larvae, despite their lack of legs, are prodigious jumpers. These worm-like creatures use hydrostatic pressure to jump more than 30 body lengths. To do so, the larva curls itself into a loop, latching its mouth to its tail. It then shifts the fluids inside its body, flattening itself as the pressure builds. When the larva releases its tail, it flies into the air at about 1 m/s. The human equivalent of a gall midge larva’s jump would be about 60 meters, far beyond the world record long jump of less than 9 meters (with a running start). The larva’s technique is a relatively simple but highly effective one that might be useful in applications like soft robotics. (Video credit: Science; research credit: G. Farley et al.)

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