Research

Springtails Jump Off Water

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Springtails are tiny hexapods often found near water, where they execute their superpower: backflipping off the water’s surface. When standing on the water, the springtail’s hydrophilic claws protrude beneath the water surface and give it traction. But its spring-loaded furcula is hydrophobic, so when it snaps down it strikes the water without breaking through. The impact propels the springtail upward and sets it spinning at an incredible rate — Smith saw up to 290 backflips a second! (Image and video credit: Ant Lab/A. Smith)

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